Cover Image: East


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Member Reviews

This is the second book by this author I have read, and he is becoming one of my favorite Scandinavian authors. I don't usually like the genre of post apocalyptic tales, but this author is one of those gifted writers than write about any subject and make it full of detail and emotion. I am looking forward to reading more books by Kirk Kjeldsen.
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I wanted to like this more, I really did. It has an interesting cover and an interesting premise. But, unfortunately, the delivery was not one I enjoyed. It was told more like a screenplay than a novel. The characters were held at length, told from third person constantly using their names. The story felt more like a list - then Job did this, then he did this. Then Job went over there and did that. He didn't seem to feel anything or have any emotion. The sentences were long, the chapters even longer, and the use of overly dramatic words just seemed out of place in a story that seemed so bleak and confusing. Would our character really know what solvents and silica, toluene and macroglossia were (just to name a few)? I got the feeling he was young (14) and not living in a time when he is well educated....
I wanted to like it more but sadly, it just didn't work for me.
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East was a great dystopian style novel wth a twist. In the not to distant future Americans begin migrating out of the good old USA to China in search of a better life. The economy is not why it once was and due to fracking the land is irreversibly ruined. 

I enjoyed the parallels drawn about the issues of immigration, environmental issues as well as humanity in general. I felt this was a bit of a “put yourself in their shoes” type of book and got the point across quite well. 

The characters were a bit flat but overall this was a good read.
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This was my first book by Kirk Kjeldsen, and I went into it having no idea what to expect. However, after reading, I'll admit that I am a fan. East takes place in a future, post-apocalyptic world, which Kjeldsen did a great job of bringing to life. The United States is a shadow of its former self, destroyed by greed and industry. Citizens immigrate to China. 

This was a quick read, and I felt the only downfall was that I didn't feel as if I could really connect with the story's main character-Job. 

Thank you to Grenzland Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A pretty bleak dystopian society book that was pretty depressing throughout. Not my usual type of book. I found the main character to be a bit one-dimensional and also wished there had been more background to how the world ended up the way it is.
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A story that turns most of what we're currently experiencing on our heads, but I found it really hard to get into.  America has experienced an economic crash, the rest of the world is looking to the east for wealth, and there are just too many little niggles that prevented me enjoying the book fully.
I tried to get into it but it was a real struggle to finish - the writing was fine, I just couldn't get into the world possibly proposed.  Maybe I didn't understand it properly.
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In East, Kjeldsen turns the story of illegal immigration on its head. Set in a future world in which the U.S. is in economic collapse, we follow the story of a young man from the Pacific Northwest who must leave his home and country in order to have any chance of making a living.
Much like Dick’s Man in the High Castle, U.S. readers are forced to identify with those people we may look down on - in High Castle, we are the losers of the Second World War, where characters must bend to outside ruling powers to survive.  In East, we are the losers in the world game of economics, and characters we easily identify with are to immigrate to survive. 
A timely and powerful story, East gives readers a chance to feel the reality of economic migrants in a world that may yet exist.
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I'm not quite sure what to make of East. The premise is strong and the intended parallels between immigrants, running from a dystopian/post-apocalyptic future US, to today's current immigration headlines are obvious but fairly well written.

The biggest problem with this novel isn't in it's execution of a story based on immigration but of the character's themselves. The main character, Job, often feels very one-dimensional. I get that it could be intended in the sense that they are so far removed from 'normality' that they're not going to hit the character progression points that you would normally expect. However, Job ages roughly 3 to 4 years in the book and you really wouldn't know without being told. For me, that was a huge part of why I just couldn't connect with these characters despite the horrific circumstances. 

Things happening to characters isn't enough for me to feel empathy for them because that's usually a given. I want and need to understand how those actions make the characters feel, otherwise it's just a set piece after set piece of horrible situations. Small spoiler but by the end, Job has become a human punching bag and there is such a disconnect with what is happening to him and his thoughts and feelings.

It's not all bad and it is a short read, I just don't know how much it really adds to the ongoing conversations around migration.

Thanks to Grenzland Press and NetGalley for provinding me with a copy for review.
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This is my first by the author - as an ARC for a honest review.
The book was tough to get in to and tough to stay engaged. I felt like I was ready a story set in the 40's yet it is contemporary. The character was not likable, in my opinion, and I had a hard time coming back to reading.

That said, the story shows a migration story much different than those on the forefront today. This boy is looking for his mother and returns to China. Why China - Mom returned there because it was easier to get a job in the booming, industrializing cities. I won't spoil it, but the whole story just didn't work too well for me.
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If I had to use one word to describe East, it would be "unexplored".

The book takes on a heavy topic, yet, goes on it so fast that it overwhelms the reader. I did not care about anyone who left Job's life, as they simply appeared for few pages before disappearing. Job himself also often acted rather emotionless of a character, where nothing seemed to faze him and author did not go in depth about any of it. You can see glimpses of brilliant ideas, but they are rarely mentioned for more than a paragraph or two. (E.g there's a character that dies in first chapter, who is supposedly quite close to Job, but is barely mentioned thereon)

On the other hand, Kjeldsen's start of the book was brilliant, those few pages full of detail and vivid imagery. Until that dropped off in later chapters, the prose is quite strong. However, due to deliberately choosing the book fast-paced, it is hard to just let it sink. It is a decent read if you want to pick up a book and read over it like a movie, but there is really no explored areas or not much for it to be remembered by here. 

As a final note, the book still needs further editing in my opinion. There is this thing Kjeldsen does, puts a lot of words next to each other and instead of commas he uses "and". (E.g they offered knockoff jeans and respirators and refurbished tablets and phones) While this was fine initially, it loses its appeal and gets old really fast. You see this once a chapter and it leaves you out of breathe every time you read over it since Kjeldsen's prose is also rather waxy.
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I really liked the idea and I still think it's very good. The topic of (illegal) immigration is quite up to date. Due to the change of perspective (today's industrialized nations are forced to emigrate) people may find it easer to deal with the problem.
Nevertheless, the implementation is unfortunately only mediocre. Job remains a pale figure throughout, whose fate has not touched me. That's what makes me so sad, especially because the end was really strong and a bit courageous.
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There is a definite trend in novels where the future is dramatically different due to varying factors and events (think hunger games, the handmaids tale, divergent etc) but this was one of the most realistic books in that genre. This was an eye opening twist on the current affairs on the world and shows just how easily whole countries can collapse and struggle. The premise of the USA being the ones who have collapsed and how the American citizens are finding illegal ways of entering other countries/city-states including China is ingenious especially when you look at today’s politics and see how so many people (including the current president) treat immigrants. It did take me a while to get into admittedly and I felt Job the main character slightly cold hearted but I considered what he had been through already in his short 14 years and came to the conclusion that any child would be that way in those circumstances and once I thought that way I felt the book was a lot easier to read. This book was for me a tale of survival and one that I enjoyed reading not just from the characters perspective but survival of animals and humans in general.
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This was my third read by the author (all but his debut in fact) and by far the best. Which isn’t to say to say the other ones weren’t up to snuff, they were, Kjeldsen has an appealingly economic, Scandinavian in a way, narrative style and a positively awesome in this day and age ability to tell a standalone story succinctly. It’s mostly to say that this book just had that much more of a story. Or maybe just much more of a story for my personal preferences. The bleak setting here (Kjeldsen does those well) is a post apocalyptic world where the balance of powers has shifted definitively toward the eponymous East. Basically China took over and became the economic power, shining beacon of promise and preferred destination of countless migrants that the USA once was. US, conversely, didn’t fare so well in this time, climate changes and various political upheavals have led to the country coming undone at the seams, with some city states faring more decently than others, but none all that great. In this wasteland a 14 year old named Job is trying to survive. His dream is to get to the promised land of China to find his mother, who has abandoned their family when he was just a child. Eventually he does, only to find out dreams may not be made of this, this relentless pursuit of material success, and survival is as challenging and dangerous as it once was, only in different ways. So essentially it’s a boy meets world story, only the boy here has been brutally robbed of any semblance of childhood and the world…of any semblance of decency. It can be read as climate sci fi, in fact in many ways that portion of the book is the best or at least featuring the best writing, Once in China, the narrative becomes slightly more…not mechanical, but more event driven and events are occurring rapidly, job after job, one terrible situation after another, all in service of the quest to find the elusive mother. Mainly, though, and certainly thematically, this is a story of an immigrant experience, something thoroughly universal and yet consistently forgotten by those who have been in one place ever so slightly longer than others. So as such it is a very timely read, but without outright politicizing, it tells a great compelling story of one young man’s journey. Any way you read it, it is a very enjoyable read, albeit, obviously, bleak and depressing. Thematically, narratively and as far as character writing goes this is Kjeldsen at his best. The story is told succinctly as always (although GR page count appears to be off, it’s more along the lines of 225 or so), but has something of an epic quality to it. Or maybe more of a saga. An adventure in a way, although not a joyous or fun one for our protagonist, but what a great protagonist Job is. His story had me thoroughly immersed. Outside of the fact that the ending seemed slightly rushed and the incomprehensible desire for people to procreate in the face of the most stark privation, this was a very good read. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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A good, fast-paced book with an interesting plot including parallel immigration situations we're experiencing in real life. This is a pretty solid story of a sad future told through a resolute Fourteen-year-old. This is a talented author who will probably get even better with time. Recommended for fans of thrillers.

I really appreciate the complimentary copy for review!!
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