What Blooms from Dust: A Novel

What Blooms from Dust: A Novel

by James Markert

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785217411
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 06/26/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 257,716
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

James Markert lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville and won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, which was later published as A White Wind Blew, a story of redemption in a 1929 tuberculosis sanatorium, where a faith-tested doctor uses music therapy to heal the patients. James is also a USPTA tennis pro and has coached dozens of kids who’ve gone on to play college tennis in top conferences like the Big 10, the Big East, and the ACC. Learn more at JamesMarkert.com; Facebook: James Markert; Twitter: @JamesMarkert.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

APRIL 1935

OKLAHOMA PLAINS

Old Sparky was supposed to have killed Jeremiah Goodbye.

But here he stood squinting against the hard sun in the middle of the Oklahoma panhandle, at a fork in the road marked by two signs nearly buried in the same dust that covered everything. Mounds of it. Drifts sculpted into hurricane waves, as far as the eye could see. Dust in the air. Dust in his eyes. The dust in his mouth crunched when he'd grind his teeth, and he had no Vaseline to coat his nostrils from the abrasive grit.

When the wind blew, dust stung like bees.

Roads were buried by dust, although there were tire tracks from those who'd recently risked it, braved it as he'd done before the Model T he'd taken back in Guthrie choked out on dust two towns east of where he now stood — back in Woodward, or maybe it was Enid. One town looked like the other — all covered in dust, homes and fences buried.

Two days he'd been walking. If only he had a light for the hand-rolled cigarette in his pocket, it could take his mind off the fact that he hadn't eaten all day. Even the tumbleweeds the Russians brought to the plains years ago looked appetizing. Too many recipes included them now, or so he'd heard.

Russian thistle made into edible gunk.

He'd found the car abandoned alongside the road, probably shorted out on the electric sparks that often accompanied the black dusters. Lucky enough the gas tank had been half-full. That's how he looked at things now — half-full instead of half-empty. That jolt of electricity he'd taken during his short affair with Old Sparky hadn't killed him as the warden had said, but it had joggled something loose.

For the first time since he could remember, his nights hadn't been plagued by those night scares — the whirlwind struggle for his life, the dusty figure like a shadow, and then the spot of light that always led to him waking up and gasping for air.

Half-full or not, this wasn't the Oklahoma he remembered. It looked like the end of the world had come and a desert had swallowed what remained. The flat prairie land of his younger days was long gone, the buffalo grass buried under drifts made by drought after the great plow-up of the land.

Land that wasn't meant to be plowed in the first place. Jeremiah covered his mouth with his shirt collar. Sodbusters getting rich off the wheat boom and never stopping to consider the repercussions. He had warned them all, having digested the fears of many of the local cowboys dead set against the homesteading. But did the sodbusters listen?

Earth moved over the horizon. Another duster.

He tilted his black Stetson against the wind, low over his brow to protect his eyes. It wasn't a duster after all. The low rumble gave it away, grew louder as it approached.

Jackrabbits.

A thousand of them at least, down from the hills, scrounging for food, starving like everything else. They paid him no never mind, scampering past, kicking up dust in pursuit of the unattainable. The sheer force of them wobbled him in his stance. One stopped atop a dust mound to nibble the prong of a fence poking through. Another scratched at a roof shingle visible from where a dugout wasn't quite buried. A cluster scratched and clawed over a thicket of tumbleweeds. One nibbled on his boot and moved on — too scrawny to cook up and eat even if Jeremiah had the notion.

A minute later the jacks were gone, kicking up dust and heading for Texas.

They'd have no better luck there, unless they struck some oil. There were more ways than one to rape the land.

The air cleared. Blue sky returned like a pot of gold. Until the next black blizzard. Best head on, but this was why he'd stopped in the first place.

Decision time.

Two signs faced him, one pointing south toward Guymon, the other north toward Nowhere.

He reached into his pocket and felt the quarter between his thumb and index finger.

The same quarter he'd taken from the pocket of the prison guard he'd found buried in the rubble. Probably Officer Jefferson, by the look of those boots. Big as boats — the man was tall as a lamppost.

He'd liked Jefferson, who was one of the few guards willing to sneak him off the row every so often for a smoke under the stars. If he'd been right of mind he would've moved some smashed cinder blocks and buried him proper. But with how that thunderboomer had quickly spun into a twister, collapsing the back wall of the execution room five seconds into that first jolt of 2,500 volts, he couldn't expect to be immediately clearheaded. Those were five seconds of his life he'd like to forget. But at least he had two feet to stand on and an unfamiliar warmth in his heart that might could even be described as hope.

He'd thanked the dead Jefferson for the cigarette he'd found in his trouser pocket.

The warden had been buried too. Last Jeremiah had seen him was when he stepped behind the curtain to crank down that lever, triggering something that sounded like a hammer on an anvil just before Jeremiah's body started to dance.

Jeremiah pulled the quarter from his pocket and approached the fork in the road.

Guymon or Nowhere?

For the first time ever the quarter felt like a boulder in his hand, instead of that smooth skipping rock, and he hesitated in the flipping of it.

Blamed that on Old Sparky too.

The Coin-Flip Killer was what the ink-pages had named Jeremiah, and ink stains, once settled, can't be so readily wiped off. He wasn't too sure if the name fit or not. Kinda fuzzy in his mind, those days, everything going down about the same time the earth started peeling off with the wind.

He assumed his daddy was still alive back in Nowhere. He hadn't heard anything to the contrary. But Wilmington Goodbye had a bullet lodged in his head, just over the left ear, a ricochet shot from the day of Jeremiah's arrest, when the badges clopped into town on horseback, flashing tin with their rifles loaded. The shoot-out was unnecessary. He would have come out willingly, but once bullets started flying he had to defend himself. He'd like to think it wasn't one of his bullets that found his daddy's head, but something told him otherwise.

As far as he knew, his father was still getting about too, even with the bullet. But he'd never come to visit in the almost three years Jeremiah had spent locked up in McAlester for four murders in which he had no direct hand — direct being the key word because, try as he might, there was no way to distance himself from the responsibility of them.

Jeremiah assumed it was the bullet that had kept Wilmington away. Maybe he wasn't supposed to travel with it in there. Or maybe he'd fallen to believe what all the newspapers were saying — though his letters never said as much. And to be fair, Wilmington had the drought to worry about. And money — or the lack thereof. There were probably plenty of reasons he never came. But no matter how grown the man, a father is life medicine for the son, and those letters, regular as they were, had never been able to give the dosage that was needed.

Jeremiah straightened his Stetson and peered toward Guymon.

A car approached. Another black Model T, throttle-choked and puttering like Josiah used to do with his lips in the bubble bath when they were kids. Seemed the entire country had one of those Fords now. This one was weaving as if trying to find the road. The driver had half his torso out the window so he could see. The windshield was dust-covered and the wipers looked stuck midthrust.

Jeremiah waved his arms to get the man's attention. The car slowed. Chains hung from the back bumper to ground it from the static in the air. The man had goggles on and a gas mask he must have kept from the Great War.

"Careful out," said the man, voice muffled. "You'll choke to death if one of them dusters spins up. It's a graveyard out here. Where you headed?"

"Don't know yet, which is why you found me standing instead of walking."

The man lifted the mask. "Well, for what it's worth, there ain't too many good choices. Ask me, you're heading in the wrong direction. If you're a man on the wander, I'd be wandering east. Wouldn't stop until I hit the coast neither. 'Course we've already had one of these dusters float all the way to the Atlantic, spread gunk all over New York. And the capital. And ships a hundred miles to sea." He squinted at Jeremiah, studying him a little closer.

Jeremiah remembered the rifle propped over his shoulder and lowered it slowly, holding it loosely to the side. He tipped his hat and smiled until he swallowed dust. "Got any more of those masks?"

"Not on me." The man stared a second more, then gulped, his Adam's apple moving like a clot of food down a snake belly. "I best get going. Don't want no trouble."

"Not intending any," said Jeremiah, realizing by the man's perked shoulders that he'd just been spotted. His face was probably all over the papers.

So much for getting a lift.

Jeremiah wished him safe travels, but the man had already puttered off, swerving again as he wrestled the mask back on his face with one hand while the other steered.

Things grew quiet.

Guymon or Nowhere?

The quarter no longer felt as heavy in his hand.

New start? Or return home to a family that once loved him but now apparently no longer wanted him?

He and Josiah had been thick as thieves until suddenly they weren't. Inseparable the instant they came into the world — in Jeremiah's case, two minutes late and gasping for air. His birth had weakened their mother. Three years later she died of lung cancer, buried before Jeremiah and Josiah were tall enough to see over the summer prairie grass.

Jeremiah could have chalked that up as his first so-called murder; the hard birth was on him. Josiah had come out first, and easily, rolling like melted butter would, while Jeremiah's had been a breech birth.

Heads for Guymon. Tails for Nowhere.

He studied the signs.

Quit stalling.

Old habits die hard. He flipped the coin in the air. Sunlight dappled as it spun. He caught it in his right palm and smacked it against the top of his left hand. After a deep breath and an exhale that dislodged dust from his mustache, he removed his right hand.

"Tails."

He set out on foot again and did his best not to suffocate. He had a Winchester rifle with one bullet, a coin he'd stolen from a dead prison guard, and a hand-rolled cigarette in his pocket with no way to light it.

The coin had already spoken. The bullet would be for his twin brother. And the cigarette, well, he reckoned he'd find some fire soon enough.

CHAPTER 2

Unlike the big cities in the northeast, where skyscrapers loomed from miles out, a prairie town gave no prior warning of civilization.

You just stumbled upon it.

Jeremiah knew the land well enough, even if the miles of prairie grass had turned to a dusty wasteland. Nowhere, Oklahoma grew fast during the 1920s wheat boom, and the folks who lived there saw their bank accounts swell. The wet years made them rich. Nesters moved from dugouts and sod houses and built real homes. They bought cars and farm equipment on credit, and the banks got fat. A hotel sprang up, as well as a theater that showed stage plays, vaudeville acts, and talkie films. Nowhere was a town on the move, and the direction was upward, prospering even more on wheat than Liberal, just to the north in Kansas, and Boise City to the southwest.

Jeremiah couldn't see the Bentley Hotel from where he stood — the dust had started to spin — but he knew he was close when he saw the dugouts. A cluster of nesters had come in right at the tail end of the boom, staking their land four miles east of Nowhere and busting up sod with wheat seed in hopes of getting rich like the rest of them. But then the stock market crashed in '29, wheat prices hit rock bottom, and the sky dried up like their dreams.

Most of the dugouts looked empty now, half-covered in dust, but the third one down had a sign out front that made Jeremiah do a double take.

Child for Sale.

He'd heard rumors of such things during these Depression years. Even one less mouth meant more food for the others. But he hadn't really believed it actually happened.

Black tar paper covered the dugout's plank board walls, and the roof looked ready to crumble. A dozen or more centipedes crawled across the front — nothing a good pot of boiling water wouldn't kill, if they had any. Ten paces behind the dugout was a wooden windmill that was cracked in the middle and leaning. If it was still able to pull water from the ground, it couldn't be more than a trickle. The woman standing in front, presumably the mother, looked starved. Behind her on a wooden bench sat three boys, all under the age of twelve, dressed nicely enough yet covered in dust. The one on the end, the youngest, probably eight or so, sat smiling while the other two looked as bleak as the land.

A thin-haired gentleman in a white button-down and suspenders stood next to the woman with his arms folded, hairy arms well muscled, and shirtsleeves rolled to the elbows. Under his dirty bowler hat he had dark, beady eyes and a black mustache so thick it covered his lips. Jeremiah didn't trust his wrinkled, sun-beaten face, so he stopped, even though following these hunches was what put him in prison in the first place — his gift that had proven to be more of a curse.

"What's the meaning of all this?"

The man turned from his conversation with the mother. "Just partaking in some business here. So mind your own."

It wasn't just the man's face Jeremiah didn't trust. It was his soul. Jeremiah could feel the blackness of it. He'd always been able to feel it, like he could an approaching norther or thunderboomer. In the past, whenever he stumbled upon a bad one, sensing the evil dwelling within, his mind would show him hints of it as evidence, and ultimately he'd let the coin decide their fate. But today was different. The feeling had an unburdened dullness to it instead of that more familiar sharp blade. That jolt of electricity he'd taken in Old Sparky had turned his clear radio to static — something he'd often hoped for but now wasn't sure he liked.

Jeremiah stepped closer. "I'm gonna make this one my business, pal."

The man ignored him and went along speaking with the mother.

"There will be no selling to this man." Out of hard-grained habit, Jeremiah reached into his pocket for the coin.

"Who says?"

"Reckon I just did." He ran the coin between his fingers until it got the man's attention. "What's your name, partner?"

"The name is scram."

"Funny name, but fittin' for a fool, I guess."

The man turned away from the woman.

Jeremiah stepped closer. "Which one's for sale?"

"The goofy one," said the man. "One that won't stop smiling. He ain't right in the head, and she said he eats too much."

"Then what do you want with him?"

The man paused, dry-swallowed, looked at the smiling boy and then back to Jeremiah. "Need help around the house is all."

"You can't look me in the eyes."

The man didn't deny it, and then tried to but didn't linger. Sun glistened off the coin moving in and out of Jeremiah's fingers.

"I've got one bullet in this rifle," Jeremiah said.

"So?"

Jeremiah stepped toe-to-toe with the man. "You ain't leavin' with that boy. Now I'm gonna ask you your name one last time."

"Name's Benny, but I go by Boo."

"That 'cause you're scary? Or easily scared?"

Boo didn't answer, but he took a step back.

Jeremiah held the coin out and flipped it high, and when it landed in the dust he covered it with his boot. "You know who I am?"

The man jerked a nod, not so mouthy anymore. "I'll just be on my way."

He started to move, but Jeremiah stopped him with an outstretched hand. "Ain't that easy, partner. Done flipped the coin."

Boo looked down at Jeremiah's boot.

"If it's heads you'll lose yours," said Jeremiah. "Something tells me you deserve it."

Boo had begun to tremble, and it showed in his voice. "And if it's tails?"

"You walk. With the knowing that you'll be watched from now until the end of your days."

"By who?"

"By those that do the watchin'."

Boo snickered. "That makes no sense."

Jeremiah moved his boot. "It's heads. Sorry, Boo." He raised the rifle toward Boo's head and fingered the trigger, although he had no intention of pulling it. He made eye contact with the smiling boy, who was shaking his head and no longer smiling. Don't do it, Mister.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "What Blooms from Dust"
by .
Copyright © 2018 James Markert.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What Blooms from Dust: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Cynthia181 3 months ago
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild, I was not required to give a favorable review. This was a very interesting story. Of course I learned about the Dust Bowl as part of my history in school and I have read about it in other books. This story put another twist to what happened at the time. I would recommend this book to anyone like a book with a little history and a bit of everything else.
Cynthia181 3 months ago
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild, I was not required to give a favorable review. This was a very interesting story. Of course I learned about the Dust Bowl as part of my history in school and I have read about it in other books. This story put another twist to what happened at the time. I would recommend this book to anyone like a book with a little history and a bit of everything else.
LucyMR1 5 months ago
A little strange but intriguing to the point that you have to keep reading quickly to see what happens. I would say this is similar to The Green Mile. I loved reading about the Dust Bowl in The Grapes Of Wrath and now I will add this to that category. I can’t imagine the desperation these people felt and the struggle to just get out of bed and function each day. This author makes you feel the hunger, finding strength to shovel that dirt out each day, wanting a bath, etc. All the things we take for granted. Amidst that desperation comes hope in the form of a young boy, Peter, and the letters he writes to inspire kindness in the citizens of Nowhere. I loved these characters and their unique personalities. Step out of your rut of the ordinary and step into the journey of extraordinary. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild. The honest review and opinions are own and were not required.
Jane Maree 5 months ago
What Blooms From Dust is historical fiction set in the Dust Bowl, with a supernatural twist; an instantly gripping and high-stake story. The main character Jeremiah Goodbye is trying to escape the dark secrets in his past, but there's no running from something that's part of you. When I first picked up this book, I wasn't expecting this to become one of my favourite reads of the year. I was just hoping it'd be decent, but then I was sucked right in and taken on a crazy adventure. What Blooms From Dust is a perfect example of why everyone should read out of their comfort zone once in a while. I rarely go for historical fiction, so I wasn't sure about this book at first, but it hooked me right from the get-go and absolutely loved every moment of it. The characters were stunning. From the very moment that Jeremiah appeared on the page, he already had so much personality and was so real. I loved all the characters and being a part of their story was the best thing ever. There's a bit of mystery about the plot, and it's only until right near the end that you find out the truth about everything, and I LOVED that. The whole concept was really intriguing and had me guessing the whole time. Without giving away any spoilers...I adored the ending! It was just perfect. This book completely flipped my expectations on end, and had me wanting more with every chapter. If you haven't tried this yet--give it a go! Absolutely recommended. NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
GailHollingsworth 5 months ago
This was the third book I've read by James Markert. Although there was some "weird" things going on like in the other two books, I think this one made more sense in the long run. I had read other books on the dust bowl that hit the Midwest in the thirties, but this expanded it even more. Parts of the book were like Biblical plagues hitting the town of Nowwhere, Oklahoma. Interestingly from chapter one until the "epilogue" was only a week and a half. It seemed to span a much longer period of time than that. So much was covered in this short period of time. The author seems to base his books in small communities with an assortment of strange and unusual characters. This book was no exception. There was contention among them, then goodwill, then banning together for a common cause. Although I'm not personally fond of books with these strange and unusual occurrences, many will enjoy the escape from everyday reality for a while into a world of whimsical and strange circumstances. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Fiction Guild but was not required to write a review.
Bookmarks & Blue Light WP 6 months ago
What Blooms From Dust is set in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, in the middle of the catastrophic Dust Bowl. Dust Bowl was a period of natural disaster in the form of intense dust storms that hit several states. It claimed lives through suffocation and starvation since farming (crops and livestock) has become impossible due to low rainfall and unsuitable lands. Every episode of dust storm piled dirt and dust onto people’s houses. As readers can expect, a great part of the book is quite depressing. The whole set came alive through James Markert’s effective writing. The author couldn’t have picked a better historical setting for his message. That’s where the theme of this book is important. The author delivers the message that there is hope even when the Earth itself seems adamant in burying you alive. This hope can come from the unlikeliest sources, too. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and are based on the uncorrected reader’s proof version.
NanceeMarchinowski 8 months ago
Somewhat dystopian, this is an accurate portrayal of life on the southern plains during the early 20th century dust storms. Well researched, this author wove an accurate fictional story of the desperate struggles of the residents in the southern plains, and the ravages the daily dust storms heaped upon them. The plot revolves around the Goodbye family and their relationships with one another and their neighbors through one of the most difficult times in our nation's history. Descriptive and pictorial, I could nearly taste the dirt that filled these characters' lives as the dust roared through their homes on a daily basis. Characters are very well developed, and life in chaos is cleverly depicted through these quirky, gritty characters. I enjoyed this book very much, although a bit of repetition bogged me down at times.
bookstoregal 8 months ago
Up to this point, I have not been a huge fan of James Market, but I liked this book! Yes, it's still weird, but it has a purpose to the story, and a good one at that. ;) It kept my attention too, and made me want to know what happened next!! Toward the middle, I was starting to wonder..., but hang in there. It is worth the read. Good old Peter. I just knew that he needed some paper! If you like books by Billy Coffey or James Rubart, you might like this. Thanks to the Fiction Guild, who gave me this book in exchange for an honest review! I like it, I really like it!!
SemmieWise 8 months ago
James Markert once again brilliantly blends together an historical story with a supernatural twist in “What Blooms from Dust.” Taking place during the mid-1930s, when the devastating Dust Bowl hit the midsection of the United States, “What Blooms from Dust” tells the story of the Goodbye family of Nowhere, Okla. After a tornado hits the prison where Jeremiah Goodbye, the notorious Coin-Flip Killer, is in the process of being electrocuted, he is able to survive the brief electrocution and escape. Along the way to finding himself back in Nowhere, he rescues a young boy, Peter Cotton, who is being sold by his mother. Peter is a strange boy who doesn’t speak much for himself, but mimics everything others say — and oddly enough totes around a typewriter. Set on killing his twin brother Josiah, who had turned him into the police for burying four dead bodies, Jeremiah returns to Nowhere with Peter in tow. After being hit repeatedly with one dust storm after another, a massive storm — referred to as Black Sunday — hits, covering the town with much more than just dust. As the town’s residents begin to act strangely — speaking with no filter and then becoming slow, lethargic and numb — Jeremiah and Peter must figure out how to bring the town’s people back from a supernatural haze that could lead to death. As always, Markert does an amazing job digging into and revealing the realness to an historical time period. Readers will feel the panic and heaviness of the dust storms, the dryness from the lack of rain, and the hopelessness and despair from the lack of an end to the storms in sight. “What Blooms from Dust,” besides being a great historical novel with a supernatural twist, is on the most basic level a story of kindness and what can grow from kindness. As mysterious events begin to occur in Nowhere, we see what the power of kindness can lead to — and the change it can bring about. This story also deals with the concept of healing through truth, forgiveness and reconciliation, and the importance and impact of our deeds and actions. This story is also a bit of a suspense as we weave through the plot to determine what is causing the mysterious events to occur. Markert is expert at dropping just enough hints that there’s more than meets the eye, and keeps the reader guessing the truth behind the mystery. Fans of authors like Billy Coffey and Shawn Smucker, or those desiring a clean version of authors like Stephen King, will enjoy this novel. Five stars out of five. Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Of the three James Markert book I've read, this is the best. That being said, I'm not a fan of his books. There is too much of the mystical and magical to be realistic historical fiction. What Blooms from Dust is set in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. Jeremiah has a "sixth sense" about good and evil in people. He was known as the coin-flip killer and was jailed for killing four men. He is sentenced to die but escapes when a tornado frees him from the electric chair. He returns to his home town Nowhere, Oklahoma with a boy, Peter, he saves from being sold. Jeremiah and Peter help to rescue the town. There are accurate portrayals of life during the dust storm that help the reader realize the hopelessness of the people who live through that time. The lesson that permeates the book is "kindness breeds kindness." If for no other reason, that emphasis may be enough reason to read the book.
Honolulubelle 10 months ago
Favorite Quotes: Wilmington said he felt a duster coming every morning. He liked to hedge his bets and say he told you so. Least when I talk I don’t look like a mouse nibblin’ on cheese… Back when you had hair on your head and a stomach that fit in your pants. How do you continue gaining weight when the rest of us can’t seem to keep it? Your mother died too young, Jeremiah. Death ain’t picky when it comes to things like that. It takes you when it takes you and then leaves you to cope without the least bit of instructions on how you’re supposed to do it. There’s signs up everywhere in California… They say No Okies Allowed. They don’t want us. Nobody wants us. We’re no different from the Indians and the Blacks and the Mexicans… They put us on the same signs. The same signs. My Review: “Health, wealth, and opportunity,” were the promises on a brochure depicting a lovely town with paved roads and a wholesome and established community which had lured a train filled with hopeful new residents, all eager to see their new investment of homes and property, only to find themselves in the middle of nowhere, in a field in the Oklahoma panhandle in 1920s. Swindled and fleeced. They settled there anyway and ironically named their newly established town, Nowhere, Oklahoma. I love irony and Mr. Markert used it cleverly throughout his intricately woven storylines and brilliantly paced and engrossing tale. Masterfully crafted are the words that kept turning over in my mind as I read this evocative and superbly written book. It was quite stunning. Mr. Markert’s cunning use of detail and striking descriptions plucked at all senses while sharp visuals danced through my gray matter. I became so engrossed in the story I grew hot and thirsty when they were parched; I could almost hear the wind and smell/taste/feel the grit of the relentless dust that permeated every scene. Their despair and exhaustion wafted across the pages. I also felt low-energy as they grew increasingly listless and despondent. But in addition to all that was the eeriness of the sixth sense and unexplainable good/evil type forces at play. I was fully invested in this startling and peculiar family drama from beginning to end and despite the arduousness of the tale; I was well pleased and fully satisfied with the journey.
Laundry_Whispers 11 months ago
This is the second book about the Dust Bowl I've read in the last 12 months. Honestly, it's the second book about the Dust Bowl that I've read in my entire life. You would think that this is something I would have read about more. I mean, I'm knowledgeable about this time period both from family stories as well as choosing to study the history, but I've not come across a lot of fiction that is specific to this era. I've talked before about my family history of this period in American history here. My Daddy is technically a dust bowl baby born in the summer of '39. I think, from a personal standpoint, this would be difficult time period to incorporate into fiction. I mean there are only so many ways you can describe dust ya know? Both books I've read have been well written and engaging but . . . dust. There's something to be said for an author that can take layers of grit and dust and weave it into a memorable story. However, much like the layers of earth that peeled up to create the dust this story had layers that needed to be peeled up and sometimes I just didn't 'get' it. Some things became clearer over time, sorta like digging out after a duster, but some things remained buried just out of my grasp. Some of this I feel was intentional, because with a story like this there are certain things that I believe should be left to the reader. However, I think some of it was because I was in the middle of a week of chaos that limited reading time and so my take on this story was disjointed. Despite that the story did peel itself up and dust me with completeness. I feel like for a moment in time I lived the dust, felt it's grit on my skin and in my hair. I smelled it's earthiness and staleness. I felt it's despondency. For a brief period of time I was Nowhere, Oklahoma. I really enjoyed this book. It gets into your head and onto your skin. Nowhere, Oklahoma brings out both the good and bad in people. And in life. It doesn't matter that it happened 80 years ago, or yesterday, hard times bring people together or tear them apart. Sometimes, they do both. The Goodbye twins are the perfect reminder that things aren't always as them seem. That second chances are sometimes first chances to make things right. That just because we believe the lies we tell ourselves doesn't make them truth. And through all of this, community is everything. This book has so many layers and you ultimately decide how deep you want to peel them back. The reader decides how much they want to truly invest. And investment is worth if. And reading it again is almost a requirement. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.