Known for flavoring her literary page-turners with the supernatural, in this novel she combines meticulous historical research and a keen understanding of human nature with a monstrous original metaphor to reimagine the ill-fated Donner-Reed party as a haunted endeavor, doomed from its first mile ... The Hunger exposes our innate and seemingly limitless capacity for violence as a thing Americans literally spread across the country, a rotten Manifest Destiny of the soul. It's somewhat heartening that Katsu, through a wildly different kind of story, draws a similar conclusion to Clement: maybe it’s not an unshakable curse. Maybe we can find a way to survive ourselves.
Instead of sapping the story of suspense, this familiarity infuses every page with dread. And that’s before Katsu adds in a supernatural twist ... The Hunger, for all its wickedness, is somehow less of a nightmare than the actual Donner Party history, some of the darkness pushed onto external threats, or disproportionately contained in one sociopathic villain. Katsu is at her best when she forces her readers to stare at the almost unimaginable meeting of ordinary people and extraordinary desperation, using her sharp, haunting language.