The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.



Based on reviews, I was eager to read Neverhome (B) by Laird Hunt. I always enjoy reading novels set during the Civil War. Neverhome approaches the topic very differently than any other I have read.

Hunt’s character Constance “Ash” Thompson is drawn from the real life of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman who disguised herself as a man (Lyons Wakeman) and fought for the Union during the war. Though Ash is fictitious the realities of battle are graphically authentic.

Constance left her farm in Indiana to fight the battle that her weak husband, Bartholomew, could not. She is the narrator of the story that takes her to battle and beyond. By the end of Part I she says, “…. into the start of my hell.” What follows is harrowing and hellish. It is where she begins to unravel and it becomes extremely difficult deciding what is reality and what is a dream.

A quote from Paul Auster, written on the book jacket says, “Its sentences seem to rise up from the earth itself”. While I agree that the prose is earthy and raw, I found it at times difficult to read and understand. I often read sentences two or three times trying to decipher them.

I would love to say for everyone to read Neverhome but it definitely is not for everyone. Neverhome is for those that like to read the naked truth about war and the lives it touches. I often read before going to bed. Neverhome is not a bedtime story. It is, however, worth reading. Forevermore books I read set in this time period will be colored by the thoughts and images of Neverhome.


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