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Neverhome by Laird Hunt – A Book Review
*Drops mic and walks away.*
That’s it. I’m done. I have seen the promised land in writing perfection – and it is mired in war.
It only took me two and a half days to read Neverhome by Laird Hunt. This was one of those books I picked up at the Tattered Cover Bookstore out in Denver. I almost didn’t grab it, but it was a signed copy.
A. Signed. Copy.
Nothing makes me happier than a signed book. It solves all the things. (Hint to those who wish to get me a Christmas or Birthday present.)
I read the back cover and was instantly captivated. The story follows Constance, a woman who fights as a Union Soldier in the Civil War. A strong woman protagonist? You got my attention. In the middle of war? I’m interested. A woman soldier in the Civil War? Done deal.
I’ve heard women fought during the Civil War. I have a thing for historical fiction. Anyway, Hunt’s work was incredible. This story is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Constance, the main character, goes by Ash Thompson in the Union Army.
Ash is the best sharpshooter in the outfit, smart, calculating and a fighter. Ash is one of those characters that will stay with you. She fought in battle, she got captured, she was forced to stay in a madhouse and she remained resilient. Really, this is the beautifully renditioned of Penelope and Odysseus.
He has built such an amazing character with Constance/Ash. Her voice is so genuine and real in the story. There is dialect, but it’s not heavy. It’s kind of like when you hear older “country” people talk. It’s very distinct. You can hear her voice from the first line:
“I was strong and he was not, so it was me who went to war to defend the republic.”
This sets the tone for the rest of the story.
Hunt’s other strength is his ability to describe things. He described the battle of Antietam and Bull Run. I want to say they walked through the aftermath of the battle of the Wilderness (though I may be mistaken). The reason I’m guessing this is because he describes a scene where Ash’s regiment walks through a field of the dead.
One would think such a description would be horrifying. It was. Don’t get me wrong, but Hunt makes it palatable and not too disturbing.
All in all, Neverhome is probably the most well written book I’ve ever read. I have tried to find something I could critique, but I have nothing. This was perfect. It will be pretty hard to top this one folks.
Yes, I will try to get an interview with him.