The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley: Book Review

To what lengths would you go to prepare for the end, whatever that means to you?

This is one of the most interesting books I have read in a long time. I was instantly sucked into Aretha’s life and descent from NY lawyer on the partner track to doomsday prepper. I felt like I was losing grip on reality right along with Aretha as I was reading.

THE SURVIVALISTS is smart and hilarious commentary on issues like late stage capitalism, gentrification, environmental justice, and of course racism. Jammed packed with characters that make unreasonable, if not logical, decisions to be prepared for anything. The path to survivalist is possible for any person.

Aaron is a Black man dealing with PTSD from surviving a hurricane, and his response is to never be left unprepared again. Brittany’s trauma response to a robbery of their home is to stay strapped- guns on guns on guns- and hires a white man who doesn’t really know how to use them as a guard. James, said white man, has a chip on his shoulder after being fired from his journalism job for plagiarism (he undoubtedly scares me the most out of the three). And Aretha gets sucked into their world of prepper antics.

THE SURVIVALISTS is at heart a witty and dark take on the anti-capitalist establishment. How can we judge those who live their lives underground when many of us who are “doing the right thing” are often employing the same morally corrupt behaviors in the name of survival.

The writing is really good, and I would love to see this turned into a movie. A gritty, fast-paced style with the descent into insanity like Fight Club, but with so much more dry, hilarious humor. You can’t tell me LaKeith Stanfield wouldn’t be the perfect Aaron.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. First 5 stars of 2023!

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