By: David Joy
Publication Date: 3/7/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as “a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature” (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.
A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom can’t leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years. Between them is Aiden McCall, loyal to both but unable to hold them together. Connected by bonds of circumstance and duty, friendship and love, these three lives are blown apart when Aiden and Thad witness the accidental death of their drug dealer and a riot of dope and cash drops in their laps. On a meth-fueled journey to nowhere, they will either find the grit to overcome the darkness or be consumed by it.
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Talented storyteller, David Joy returns following his outstanding debut, Where All the Light Tends to Go to rural North Carolina mountains of Appalachia with another dark, gritty Southern noir THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD. From flawed and tortured souls, in search of light within the darkness.
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
In Sylva, NC Aiden McCall, at the young age of twelve, watched his watched his dad murder his mother, then turn the gun on himself. A sight which would haunt him for the rest of his life. His worst fear was becoming his father one day.
Growing up in a group home he only had one friend, Thad Broom. Thad had his own past. Aiden had always believed that as time moved on the world would open up, that life would get easier rather than harder.
Hard led to harder. Life had a way of wearing a man down into nothing. The older he got the more complicated the world had become.
With enough money and a fresh start, Aiden and Thad could set things right. However, the housing bubble burst and jobs dried up. Thad was on deployment in Afghanistan when the construction business went to pot.
Those years Thad got to leave Aiden was jealous. But when Thad came back, Aiden was not sure who had it better or worse. If they could only leave the mountains. Aiden thought somewhere like Asheville, Hendersonville, or Atlanta for a fresh start. An opportunity for a better life.
April Trantham, Thad’s mother, had her own problems and past, starting from a young age. When the boys were in high school April inherited six acres and an old run down house and a single wide from the old man George had cancer.
April and Aiden find comfort in one another while Thad is away. Thad returns after a traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan he is never the same, more damaged than when he left. The three of them want to escape their traumas; however, the weight of the world is heavy around them, and they cannot seem to escape.
. . . “There were so many horrible things they had buried inside themselves, all of the memories that had come to govern their lives. He found himself wishing that he could have been the one to bear it all. He wished that he could have taken all of the bad in this world and piled it onto himself so that he would have been the one to ever know that kind of suffering.”
From drugs, hatred, murder, crime and violence. Thad and Aiden’s drug dealer accidentally kills himself, leaving the two young men with drugs and cash; however, they cannot seem to pull themselves from the darkness. A drug- deal gone, bad.
. . . “Things weren’t okay. Everything wasn’t going to be all right. The world was entirely broken,”
Thad soon realizes that dying was a one-way ticket to judgment and it made no difference whether it came now or years down the road. He would be judged on his way to find redemption.
A mother who had not fully given herself to motherhood and her son, due to her own demons of pain and her innocence stolen. Aiden, trying to forget his haunted past. Did some people deserve to die? People had choices. These three may have more in common than they know.
As in his first book, David Joy skillfully balances the all-consuming brutality and darkness of his characters with the lyrical beauty of his writing. He captures the emotions, the setting, the culture; from crimes, dysfunction, hatred and poison, and struggles of the wounded human spirit, often with limited choices and repeating their own environment.
Told with compassion, from sadness to hope. Fans of gritty Southern noirs/literature and authors Ron Rash, Wiley Cash and John Hart will appreciate this skillfully written tale.
A special thank you to Penguin Putman and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (also purchased the audiobook)
David Joy's books are always meant to be read, pondered, and listened to. MacLeod Andrews is a perfect narrator for THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD, as he was for Where All Light Tends to Go. Both 5 Stars.
March Top 20 Reads
The weight of desire: David Joy releases second book
Written by Garret K. Woodward
Smoky Mountain News
What would you do?
A pile of drugs. A stack of cash. More money than you’ve ever seen in your life, and more illegal fun and chaos than you ever thought possible. And yet, while standing at this crossroads there’s a dead body on the floor, bullet hole through the head, blood spilling across the floor, ever closer to your shoes, and also your link to the situation.
In his sophomore novel, Jackson County author David Joy kicks the doors wide open with The Weight Of This World (out March 7 on Putnam Books), a rollicking, methamphetamine fueled drug-deal-gone-bad odyssey through the backwoods and back roads of Western North Carolina. It’s that line between what is right under the eyes of God and what is rightfully your — perhaps — one and only chance for something more. It’s a line as blurry as your eyes and thoughts while trapped in the confines of hard drugs and a social system where you were as forgotten or disregarded as quickly as you were born. Read More
“Appalachia provides the evocative setting for this tale of a brutal world filled with violence and drugs...Lyrical prose, realistic dialogue, and a story that illuminates the humanity of each character make this a standout.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Readers of Southern grit lit will enjoy Joy’s excellent sophomore outing, which is both dark and violent. Ron Rash aficionados will appreciate Joy’s strong sense of place in his vivid depiction of rural Appalachia.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Joy neither condescends to his characters nor excuses them but simply depicts them amid the crushing poverty and natural beauty of their environment. With prose as lyrical as it is hard-edged, he captures men still pining for childhood and stunned to find themselves as grownups with blood on their hands. Joy is one to watch—and read.”—Booklist
"Joy kicks the doors wide open with The Weight Of This World, a rollicking, methamphetamine fueled drug-deal-gone-bad odyssey through the backwoods and back roads of Western North Carolina. It’s that line between what is right under the eyes of God and what is rightfully your—perhaps—one and only chance for something more." —Smoky Mountain News
"Joy explores the darkness of an area that many people experience only through tourism, where characters ravaged by addiction, domestic violence, and an economy that refuses to rebound scramble to change their lives." —WNC Magazine
"Not a single word is wasted in The Weight of This World, a dark and violent literary page-turner that burns with a white hot intensity rarely found in fiction today. A perfectly executed novel, this is a book that will endure."—Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Heavenly Table
“David Joy’s The Weight of This World is a tale of exquisite grit. A fearless writer, Joy is willing to go to all the dark places, but his voice and his heart serve as such strong beacons that we’ll follow him and take our chances. Those chances pay off in a story that is as tense and harrowing as it is achingly tender. Don’t miss this book.”—Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me
“The Weight of This World is a savage and heartbreaking tragedy. David Joy writes with a deep wisdom, compassion, and respect for the psychic and physical wounds, the pain and anger and sadness that at once shackle his broken characters and hurl them toward choices and outcomes that linger with the reader long after the last page is read. Most impressive, Joy has written about the cost of loyalty based in childhood friendships that no longer exist in the adult world, and how sacrifices made out of the love for another can lead to the ruin of the self.”—Eric Rickstad, New York Times-bestselling author of Lie in Wait
“The Weight of This World is a beautiful nightmare of lives battered by the forces of serendipity and inevitability. Of lives swirling down the drain in a haze of meth, abuse, blood, and, of all things, love.”—Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times-bestselling author of Where It Hurts
Where All the Light Tends to Go
5 Stars Read My Review
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A Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel
“Joy’s first novel is an uncompromising noir, its downward thrust pulling like quicksand on both the characters and the reader. And, yet, there is poetry here, too, as there is in Daniel Woodrell’s novels, the kind of poetry that draws its power from a doomed character’s grit in the face of disaster. . . This is the start of a very promising fiction-writing career.”—Booklist
“Gripping . . . Engaging characters, a well-realized setting, and poetic prose establish Joy as a novelist worth watching.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
David Joy is the author of the Edgar nominated novel Where All Light Tends To Go (Putnam, 2015), as well as the novels The Weight Of This World (Putnam, 2017) and The Line That Held Us (Putnam, TBD). He is also the author of the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey (Bright Mountain Books, 2011), which was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award.
His work is represented by Julia Kenny of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency, with film rights by Dana Spector at Paradigm.
Joy is the recipient of an artist fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council. His writing has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, and has been nominated for awards such as the Pushcart Prize. His latest short stories and essays have appeared in The Good Men Project, Still: The Journal, and The Pisgah Review.
Joy lives in Webster, North Carolina. For a full curriculum click here.
Coming August 2018
The LIne That Held Us
By: David Joy
Publication Date: 8/14/2018
My Rating: TBR
From critically acclaimed author David Joy comes a remarkable novel about the cover-up of an accidental death, and the dark consequences that reverberate through the lives of four people who will never be the same again. Read More