Monday, August 5, 2013
#3 Several Exciting ARCs
Sorting through the mailings of ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) received the last few months I found two that promised some great reading... and did they deliver! Larry Watson follows his "American Boy" with another potential "quiet" classic "Let Him Go" set for publication in the coming September. George and Margaret Blackledge live in small town, Dalton North Dakota in 1951 having given up up farming following the death of their son James in a horseback riding accident. George has retired after serving a term as county sheriff and Margaret has busied herself with helping her widowed daughter-in-law, Lorna, raise her grandson Jimmy.
But all has changed as Lorna has met and married a new man Donnie Weboy who hearkens from the eastern Montana town of Gladstone. When Margaret sees Donnie abuse his step-son on the main street of Dalton and Lorna doesn't stand up for her son, Margaret sees she has no option but to gain control of her grandson. When Donnie and Lorna move to eastern Montana with Jimmy, Margaret plans how she can get Jimmy back. And if husband George won't support her, she'll drive there and do the deed herself.
George reluctantly goes with her, but neither planned for the reception given to them by the notorious Weboy family when they expose their plan. And the casual violence of 1951 rural America revisits Watson's earlier classic "Montana 1948" in its ability to both shock and convince the reader of its inevitability.
The second ARC worth getting excited about is the jointly written novel "The Tilted World" to be released October 1 by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly. Based on the largest American natural disaster, the unrelenting rains of 1927 and the flooding of the midwest rivers leading to the inevitable disaster of the flooding of the Mississippi, this novel captures the pitch, events, and characters of Prohibition America, the moonshiners cooking their product, paying off whoever needs it and selling up and down the River, and the people of very limited means facing the flood if the levees and sandbags fail.
Two federal revenue agents are dispatched by Commerce secretary Herbert Hoover to Hobnob Landing on the River to investigate moonshiners and the disappearance of two previously assigned agents. Their paths cross an orphaned baby, a major distributor of moonshine and his wife who very professionally cooks the best moonshine on the River. All of this pales in light of plots to blow up the levees, drowning Hobnob and its people to save New Orleans downriver. Fennelly and Franklin offer a mesmerizing tale of evil and unrelenting natural force as flood and treachery mix with heroism and love.
Both books are worthy of a wide readership. Here's hoping for their surprise best-sellerdom.