Cover image for Neverhome
Title:
Neverhome
Author:
Hunt, Laird, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
Physical Description:
246 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
"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."--from publisher's description.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316370134
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITOR'S CHOICE
Inaugural winner of the Grand Prix de la Littérature Américaine
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.


Author Notes

Laird Hunt is the author of several works of fiction and a two-time finalist for the PEN Center USA Award in Fiction. A former United Nations press officer currently on the faculty of the University of Denver's creative writing program, he and his wife, the poet Eleni Sikelianos, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their daughter, Eva Grace.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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.--Johnson, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Following Kind One, Hunt returns to the 19th century to transform a footnote in history-the women who fought disguised as men in the Civil War-into a haunting meditation on the complexity of human character, the power of secrets, and the contradictions of the American experience. Saying that "he was made out of wool and I was made out of wire," Constance Thompson leaves her husband Bartholomew to work their Indiana farm and enlists in the Union Army as Ash Thompson. Her strength, fortitude, and marksmanship serve her disguise well, and soldiering seems to offer some of the change she has craved. But the carnage inevitably takes its toll. Captured by bounty hunters, Constance must use both cunning and violence to escape. After an injury separates her from her unit, the nurse with whom she's sheltered betrays her to the military authorities, and she is put in a madhouse. Though she finds her way back home, the war's brutality has changed both her and the farm so much that familiar grounds offers no peace, only pain. Hunt's characterization of Constance transcends simplistic distinctions between male and female, good and bad. The language of her narration is triumphant as well: sometimes blunt, sometimes visionary, and always fascinating. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Hunt (Kind One; Ray of the Star) has written a particularly beautiful novel about Constance "Ash" Thompson, a woman who bravely sets out to fight, in place of her husband, in the Civil War. Having dealt with unbearable grief including the loss of her mother through suicide, Ash realizes her own strength as she courageously defends the Union with her male counterparts. Through her first-person perspective, we journey with this stoic, resilient, and hopeful protagonist who recognizes her own pain even as she is coping with the atrocities of battle. Hunt brings an especially bittersweet and lyrical tone to this forgotten part of Civil War history and gives voice to the several hundred women who did indeed make the momentous decision to fight. VERDICT Historical fiction fans will not be disappointed by this wonderful story of Ash's struggles with her identity and of her personal ties to the war. An amazing book. [See Prepub Alert, 3/31/14.] Mariel Pachucki, Maple Valley, WA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.