Friday, September 05, 2014

A short review: Neverhome, by Laird Hunt

Although historical novelists have been slow to honor the brave women who fought in America’s wars disguised as men, several, including Erin Lindsay McCabe and Alex Myers, have recently remedied this oversight. Hunt joins their strong ranks with an enthralling novel about an Indiana farm wife who leaves her husband in 1862 to become a Union soldier; she has her own reasons why.

Don’t expect instructive details on how “Ash Thompson” pulls off this masquerade. Instead, Hunt’s is an exquisitely wrought vision of the terrible ravages of war—on the land, on the human body, and on the mind—as encountered by a tough, clever woman.

As she marches from camp and into battle, into unfamiliar Southern towns and across woodland filled with intermingled blue and gray dead, she bests others and is herself bested. Her journey’s every step is finely rendered in an authentic rural dialect. Readers will encounter eye-opening surprises in both her future and progressively revealed past while avidly living each moment alongside her, marveling at her determination and amazing courage.

Neverhome will be published by Little, Brown on September 7th in hardcover (256pp, $26.95). This review first appeared in Booklist's September 1st issue.  Looking for subject-based "readalikes" for Neverhome?  I've listed some in my post from this past Friday.  There's plenty of action in this novel, though it also falls within the realm of literary fiction, so fans of Cold Mountain and its ilk should find it of interest as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment