Remarkable . . . This isn t your ordinary coming-of-age novel, but with his bone-cutting insights into these men and the region that bred them, Joy makes it an extraordinarily intimate experience. Read more...
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Remarkable . . . This isn t your ordinary coming-of-age novel, but with his bone-cutting insights into these men and the region that bred them, Joy makes it an extraordinarily intimate experience. Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Lyrical, propulsive, dark and compelling. Joy knows well the grit and gravel of his world, the soul and blemishes of the place."--Daniel Woodrell
In the country-noir tradition of Winter's Bone meets 'Breaking Bad, ' a savage and beautiful story of a young man seeking redemption.
The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually. The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town.
Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when a fatal mistake changes everything, he s faced with a choice: stay and appease his father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he s ever known."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-01-05
- Reviewer: Staff
North Carolina memoirist Joy (Growing Gills) sets his gripping first novel in his native Appalachia. Jacob McNeely, the 18-year-old son of a meth-addicted mother and a sociopathic father who operates a drug ring, has always believed he can’t transcend his roots. But when his childhood sweetheart, Maggie Jennings, graduates from high school, she asks him to leave the mountains with her, and he begins to envision a life free of his family legacy. Threats to his father’s business provoke violence, however, ensnaring Jacob in murder and betrayal even as he plans his escape. Despite his recreational drug use and propensity for violence, he has a capacity for selfless love that will keep readers invested in his struggle. Some Appalachian clichés and repetitive descriptions don’t detract from the tragic, absorbing plot. Engaging characters, a well-realized setting, and poetic prose establish Joy as a novelist worth watching. Agent: Julia Kenny, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Mar.)