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"A strange, dazzling novel, as audacious as it is lyrical, The Evening Road hauls up insight, sorrow, and even--somehow--wit from the well of American history." - Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room and The Wonder
"Illuminates its time better than any staid sepia period piece ever could." -- New York
Two women, two secrets: one desperate and extraordinary day.
In the high heat of an Indiana summer, news spreads fast. When Marvel, the local county seat, plans to lynch three young black men, word travels faster. It is August, 1930, the height of the Jim Crow era, and the prospect of the spectacle sends shockwaves rumbling through farm country as far as a day's wagon-ride away.
Ottie Lee Henshaw, a fiery small-town beauty, sets out with her lecherous boss and brooding husband to join in whatever fun there is to be had. At the opposite end of the road to Marvel, Calla Destry, a young African-American woman determined to escape the violence, leaves home to find the lover who has promised her a new life.
As the countryside explodes in frenzied revelry, the road is no place for either. It is populated by wild-eyed demagogues, marauding vigilantes, possessed bloodhounds, and even by the Ku Klux Klan itself. Reminiscent of the works of Louise Erdrich, Edward P. Jones, and Marilynne Robinson, The Evening Road is the story of two remarkable woman on the move through an America riven by fear and hatred, and eager to flee the secrets they have left behind.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"In this startling and unforgettable novel, the characters explode off the page like fireworks on a very dark and disturbing night. Days later I'm still thinking about them, still hearing the cadence of Hunt's poetic language, and still wondering which is more enduring, the darkness or the light."
"THE EVENING ROAD is a vivid, disturbing book, able to subvert itself in half a line, constantly challenging the reader's expectations. Its ghost map is quickly established in the reader's head, and as the characters fade into the margin of the final page, it is as if an inner landscape has altered. It is mature, accomplished, impressive"
"No need to overheat the superlatives with Laird Hunt. The plain and simple truth is, he's never written a novel that hasn't dazzled me, and when it comes to THE EVENING ROAD, no one's written quite this way since Flannery O' Conner."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm not sure exactly how to review this book. I read it all and I'm still a little perplexed. I'm not sure where the author was going with all this. I found the first part of the book with Ottie Lee and her troop on their way to the lynching kind of unsettling and quite embarrassing to be a cornsilk. They pretty much seemed like ignorant rednecks to me. What with Ottie letting her boss grope her on the way to pick up her husband, Dale. Then later her husband and her having their stare down contests (juvenile). Ottie's boss reminded me of the sheriff in Dukes of Hazzard or Smokey and the Bandit. I thought it crude how they stole the cornflowers wagon. Of course, we are talking the deep south here. I don't know, I just finished the book and thought to myself "what was that all about?". If there was some deep meaning that I was supposed to get, I didn't get it. Thanks to Little, Brown and Company for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
The Evening Road by Laird Hunt is a recommended novel set in Indiana in the 1920's on the day a lynching is to take place. The news is all over that a lynching is going to take place in Marvel and all the citizens nearby are planning to travel to see it. This is the story of two different women on that day and what happens as they travel to or away from the Marvel. The novel is in two parts, one for Ottie Lee and one for Calla. There is a final chapter from a woman who is called "The Angel Runner." Ottie Lee Henshaw is traveling with Bud Lancer, her lecherous boss, and Dale, her husband. Along their journey they get a flat tire, stop at a church supper, a dance hall, and a Quaker prayer meeting, pick up lots of alcohol, and commandeer a mule-drawn wagon. Calla Destry, a young black woman who was supposed to meet someone who never showed up is desperate to leave Marvel and find the man who was supposed to meet her, as well as find her . While the lynching is the main topic/event all the characters are talking about, it is not the subject matter and plays a dark, but peripheral, role in the novel. This is a character driven novel. The main subjects are the two female characters and their self-discovery on this day and during this time in history. They both have secrets they are keeping. Ottie Lee's journey feels disjointed and awkward as the group is constantly pulled off course or interrupted during their trip. Calla's journey is smoother and easier to follow, but almost as meandering. The paths of the two cross several times, in startling ways. While the quality of the writing is excellent, Laird calls whites "cornsilks" and blacks "cornflowers" which I found very confusing and it made it a struggle to follow dialogue. Having the lynching in Marvel the main event and focus of all the characters, but never really the intended main focus left me feeling disjointed. The circuitous path both characters take on this day is frustrating. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Hachette Book Group.