Sunday, November 8, 2015

Neverhome by Laird Hunt

Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: January 21, 2015

She calls herself Ash, but that's not her real name. She is a farmer's faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. Neverhome tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to the American cause. Laird Hunt's dazzling new novel throws a light on the adventurous women who chose to fight instead of stay behind. It is also a mystery story: why did Ash leave and her husband stay? Why can she not return? What will she have to go through to make it back home? In gorgeous prose, Hunt's rebellious young heroine fights her way through history, and back home to her husband, and finally into our hearts.

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Laird Hunt’s Neverhome has received much acclaim and that is wonderful, but that said, I feel the time I spent on the book well and truly wasted. My apologies to fans of both the author and his work, but I found very little of this narrative appealed to my particular tastes. 

Personally, I found it very difficult to relate to Ash and had a hard time manufacturing empathy for her trials and circumstances. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t care if she survived her journey home and that fact made it impossible to appreciate the hurdles she faced over the course of the narrative.

Hunt’s tone is dark and ultimately rather depressing and while I’ve nothing against his style or themes, I can’t say his effort packed the punch I’d anticipated. To be perfectly blunt, I felt the pacing slow, the action monotonous and the ending abrupt and uninspired. 

At the end of the day, I’m definitely disappointed at having wasted my time on Neverhome. There was a lot of potential in the idea, but I don’t think Hunt rose to the occasion and wont be recommending it forward. 

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That was something to think about. How you could rifle a man down was looking at you and you at him but never see his face. I hadn’t figured it that way when I had thought on it back home. I had figured it would be fine big faces firing back and forth at each other, not threads of color off at the horizon. A dance of men and not just their musket balls.
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