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An Amish dystopian novel

In this entrancing novel, David Williams, a theologian and Presbyterian pastor, has created his own sort of sub-genre: Amish dystopian. “When the English Fall’’ (Algonquin) follows farmer Jacob and his family through a solar storm that causes planes to fall out of the sky, the grid to crumble, and violence and chaos to unfold across rural Pennsylvania. The English (the Amish term for those outside the faith) are rendered helpless without electricity, and the Amish, relying on hand tools, with stores of canned food and dried meats, prove well-positioned to survive in this brave new world. Told in journal entries written by Jacob, the narrative voice is deceptively simple, lulling, holding, at times, the power of prayer.

NINA MACLAUGHLIN