This book is not available in our subscription service
This book is not yet available in our subscription service due to
restrictions in our agreements with the publisher. We hope to be able
to offer this title in our subscription service as soon as possible. In the meantime you can purchase this book individually.
In this haunting and poignant debut novel, James Braziel tells an unforgettable story of love, family, and survival across a world that has already begun to die.…When the ozone layer opened and the sun relentlessly scorched the land, there was nothing left but to hope. Mathew Harrison had always heard of a better life as close as Birmingham, only thirty-five miles away—zones of blue sky, wet grass, and clean breathable air. But to him it’s a myth, a place guarded by soldiers, off limits to all but the lucky few. Meanwhile Mat works alongside his father, mining only the red clay that the once fertile Alabama soil can offer.Now, with the killing deserts on the move again and the woman he loves on a Greyhound heading north, Mat has a travel visa and every reason to leave. But his roots in this lifeless soil inexplicably hold him firmly to the past. Torn between hope and resignation, with time running out, Mat must make a fateful choice between a new life and the one that isn’t ready to let him go.From the Trade Paperback edition.read more
The story jumps back and forth over the life of the protagonist, Mathew Harrison. He is born in 2014, the year that dust storms sweep across the Gulf South, rendering it a desert wasteland, cut off from the "saved world" in Birmingham and beyond. He faces a crisis during his 30th year when his conceptions of loyalty and hope are both quickly unraveling.Nicknamed "daydreamer", the protagonist has evocative visions of the past. They once gave him a taste of freedom and beauty, but become more and more a source of distraction and torment. Similarly the reader is bounced from scene to scene and can easily become disoriented as Braziel toils to explicate Harrison's personal mythology without indulging in much plot development.The reader is rewarded, ultimately, for working through the first half of the book as he or she can better get into Harrison's mind and appreciate his crisis -- one which remains mysterious even to his friends and family. Having reached that foothold, however, it is unfortunate that Braziel withholds any kind of real payoff as the ending is inconclusive. Appropriate, perhaps, but unsatisfying.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
No rating provided
Set in a near-future Alabama rendered virtually lifeless by a hole in the ozone layer, Braziel's relentlessly dark debut focuses on Mathew Harrison, a young man who's never known anything but dust storms, heat, the killing sun and a life of migrant labor. Forbidden to move north (the nearby city of Birmingham is closed), Mat, his father and their peers labor in government-run clay mines that may be nothing more than hideously dangerous make-work. Cut off from communication with the so-called Saved World, the undestroyed part of the country, they're treated much like the Okies of the dust bowl era. Grown to adulthood in this soul-destroying environment, Mat nonetheless finds joy in his marriage to a local girl, Jennifer. The young couple are among the favored few who have acquired visas, a way out of the hellhole of the dead South. Poetic, grim and hallucinatory, this harrowing work is not for the faint of heart, though it will appeal strongly to anyone who loved Cormac McCarthy's The Road. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved