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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Evening Hour

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The Evening Hour Cover

ISBN13: 9781608195978
ISBN10: 160819597x
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Most of the wealth in Dove Creek, West Virginia, is in the earth-in the coal seams that have provided generations with a way of life. Born and raised here, twenty-seven-year-old Cole Freeman has sidestepped work as a miner to become an aide in a nursing home. He's got a shock of bleached blond hair and a gentle touch well suited to the job. He's also a drug dealer, reselling the prescription drugs his older patients give him to a younger crowd looking for different kinds of escape.

In this economically depressed, shifting landscape, Cole is floundering. The mining corporation is angling to buy the Freeman family's property, and Cole's protests only feel like stalling. Although he has often dreamed of leaving, he has a sense of duty to this land, especially after the death of his grandfather. His grandfather is not the only loss: Cole's one close friend, Terry Rose, has also slipped away from him, first to marriage, then to drugs. While Cole alternately attempts romance with two troubled women, he spends most of his time with the elderly patients at the home, desperately trying to ignore the decay of everything and everyone around him. Only when a disaster befalls these mountains is Cole forced to confront his fears and, finally, take decisive action-if not to save his world, to at least save himself.

The Evening Hour marks the powerful debut of a writer who brings originality, nuance, and an incredible talent for character to an iconic American landscape in the throes of change.

Review:

"Set in modern-day West Virginia coal country, Sickels's debut revolves around a cast of characters whose world is pulled out from under them. Though protagonist Cole Freeman — a 27-year-old who works as an aide at a nursing home — likes the people he assists, he steals their belongings and deals the prescription drugs he buys from them. From his point of view, he's not doing anything wrong, simply helping his patients who need money to pay their bills. Meanwhile, a coal mining company engaged in mountaintop removal poisons the landscape in an effort to force people off their land, posing a deadly threat to residents. However, families like Cole's don't want to move. In the words of Cole's dying grandfather, a fire and brimstone preacher and snake handler: 'Why would I want to live on land that my people never walked on?' Cole meanders through life, making on-again, off-again friendships, but he vows to change direction as the drug trade turns violent and he faces suspicion. The question becomes: is there a better life out there? Even at his worst, Cole proves well-intentioned and likable, with deep caring for others that proves refreshing, particularly when disaster strikes. Despite moments of heavy-handed foreshadowing and repetitive conversations, the novel is grounded in rich storytelling." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"A plainspoken novel, but one with intensely lyrical moments, about the devastation of the West Virginia landscape — and the devastation to the local communities — owing to mountaintop removal....Sickels has great insight into the emotional life of West Virginians, and he refreshingly presents them as fully realized characters." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Sickels's debut revolves around a cast of characters whose world is pulled out from under them....The novel is grounded in rich storytelling." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Cole's point of view is one not often encountered in contemporary fiction. First-time novelist Sickels paints [his] experience with an unflinching hand." Library Journal

Review:

"In this stark, beautiful debut, Sickels writes with gentle grace and cutting honesty about characters as wounded as the condemned land on which they live. The Evening Hour is a raw, aching book that gleams with moments of unflinching truth and unexpected tenderness, casting light into dark corners, revealing both damage and dignity. It's a stunning novel." Aryn Kyle, author of The God of Animals and Boys and Girls Like You and Me

Review:

"The troubled heart of the country, and the hearts of the deeply compelling people who populate it, beat strongly and unforgettably in The Evening Hour. Carter Sickels is a tremendous novelist with a tremendous story to tell in these pages, and he tells it with beauty and power." Stacey D'Erasmo, author of The Sky Below

Review:

"The Evening Hour could be a hymn sung out in a country church; when I finished it, I wanted to close my eyes, listen to its echoes, feel the power of its song. For that is what this beautiful book is: a sweet-souled, hard-eyed prayer for a beleaguered people and the beloved landscape they call home. With striking authenticity and admirable restraint, Carter Sickels brings both forcefully to life in his deeply moving, spiritually uplifting debut." Josh Weil, author of The New Valley

Review:

"The Evening Hour is engrossing. It elicits strong, complicated emotions from the first page. I felt inhabited by the characters, and as the page numbers increased, I was as scared for it to end as I was to see what would happen." Nick Reding, author of Methland

Review:

"A refreshing cry from the populace, Carter Sickels's The Evening Hour captures the spirit of America's New Feudalism. The setting is West Virginia and Heritage Coal has a monopoly: on the land, on the lives of the people who work for them, and on the families who live downhill from the toxic sludge pond. Life is hell and survival is all there is. Some have the Bible, some have booze and pills and sex, and some still dare to have a dream." Tom Spanbauer, author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon

About the Author

Carter Sickels, a graduate of the MFA program at Pennsylvania State University, was awarded fellowships to Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. After living for a decade in New York City, Sickels left to earn a master's degree in folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He now lives in Portland, Oregon.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

LFG, July 16, 2014 (view all comments by LFG)
The Evening Hour is a rich, compelling novel that pulls you into the complex lives of a small community and doesn't let you leave. The characters caretake the elderly and deal drugs, handle snakes, and tend bar. They are country folk all trapped together in the shadow of a mountain being blown apart for coal. Moody and dark and gentle, this book is a spellbinding read about a young man tied to his community and the mother and land he discovers he is built upon.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
Matthew Witt, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Matthew Witt)
This has everything you could want in a novel. Characters that you root for but are human, flawed, complex. A story that has you wanting to know what is going to happen. And a context, a place, that you learn about -- in this case, the coal country of Appalachia in the 21st century. So many novels these days are just another variation on same old same old. This one is original and fresh from first page to last. I've been recommending it to everyone I know.
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(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
webb.bo, December 17, 2011 (view all comments by webb.bo)
A well written and insightful look into the tragedy of modern day Appalachian coal communities; drugs and mountaintop removal. A realistic tale of human suffering and acceptance of servitude to a ruthless coal industry.

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(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781608195978
Author:
Sickels, Carter
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Author:
Sickels, A. Carter
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120117
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in

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The Evening Hour Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Bloomsbury USA - English 9781608195978 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Set in modern-day West Virginia coal country, Sickels's debut revolves around a cast of characters whose world is pulled out from under them. Though protagonist Cole Freeman — a 27-year-old who works as an aide at a nursing home — likes the people he assists, he steals their belongings and deals the prescription drugs he buys from them. From his point of view, he's not doing anything wrong, simply helping his patients who need money to pay their bills. Meanwhile, a coal mining company engaged in mountaintop removal poisons the landscape in an effort to force people off their land, posing a deadly threat to residents. However, families like Cole's don't want to move. In the words of Cole's dying grandfather, a fire and brimstone preacher and snake handler: 'Why would I want to live on land that my people never walked on?' Cole meanders through life, making on-again, off-again friendships, but he vows to change direction as the drug trade turns violent and he faces suspicion. The question becomes: is there a better life out there? Even at his worst, Cole proves well-intentioned and likable, with deep caring for others that proves refreshing, particularly when disaster strikes. Despite moments of heavy-handed foreshadowing and repetitive conversations, the novel is grounded in rich storytelling." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A plainspoken novel, but one with intensely lyrical moments, about the devastation of the West Virginia landscape — and the devastation to the local communities — owing to mountaintop removal....Sickels has great insight into the emotional life of West Virginians, and he refreshingly presents them as fully realized characters."
"Review" by , "Sickels's debut revolves around a cast of characters whose world is pulled out from under them....The novel is grounded in rich storytelling."
"Review" by , "Cole's point of view is one not often encountered in contemporary fiction. First-time novelist Sickels paints [his] experience with an unflinching hand."
"Review" by , "In this stark, beautiful debut, Sickels writes with gentle grace and cutting honesty about characters as wounded as the condemned land on which they live. The Evening Hour is a raw, aching book that gleams with moments of unflinching truth and unexpected tenderness, casting light into dark corners, revealing both damage and dignity. It's a stunning novel."
"Review" by , "The troubled heart of the country, and the hearts of the deeply compelling people who populate it, beat strongly and unforgettably in The Evening Hour. Carter Sickels is a tremendous novelist with a tremendous story to tell in these pages, and he tells it with beauty and power."
"Review" by , "The Evening Hour could be a hymn sung out in a country church; when I finished it, I wanted to close my eyes, listen to its echoes, feel the power of its song. For that is what this beautiful book is: a sweet-souled, hard-eyed prayer for a beleaguered people and the beloved landscape they call home. With striking authenticity and admirable restraint, Carter Sickels brings both forcefully to life in his deeply moving, spiritually uplifting debut."
"Review" by , "The Evening Hour is engrossing. It elicits strong, complicated emotions from the first page. I felt inhabited by the characters, and as the page numbers increased, I was as scared for it to end as I was to see what would happen."
"Review" by , "A refreshing cry from the populace, Carter Sickels's The Evening Hour captures the spirit of America's New Feudalism. The setting is West Virginia and Heritage Coal has a monopoly: on the land, on the lives of the people who work for them, and on the families who live downhill from the toxic sludge pond. Life is hell and survival is all there is. Some have the Bible, some have booze and pills and sex, and some still dare to have a dream."
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