"This is quite possibly the best book I have ever read. It is haunting and memorable on many levels.My family comes from Tennessee, so perhaps this book means that much more to me. In it, I heard the voices of my own speaking to me. But, I know this n...moreThis is quite possibly the best book I have ever read. It is haunting and memorable on many levels.My family comes from Tennessee, so perhaps this book means that much more to me. In it, I heard the voices of my own speaking to me. But, I know this novel is far more special.
It is hard to believe this is a novel. The layers of this book are thick and tangible, with generations, people, lore and history. Ms. Greene is a very rare and gifted writer. I don't know how she can possibly exceed such writing...but I will be there to read it.
Carol Ellen, March 7, 2010 (view all comments by Carol Ellen)
Amy Greene's first novel is a wonder: a thoroughly spellbinding story, told through the voices of several different characters, and set in the Smoky Mountains. Her portrayal of Southern mountain folks and small towns is spot on, as is her ear for the dialect peculiar to that region. (Yes, I know whereof I write: my grandmother talked like that.) Ms. Greene captures the beauty of those mountains in a way that makes my heart ache for them. But one needn't have an inborn love of the mountains to love this book; the compelling story, vividly drawn characters, and complex relationships kept me reading late into the night. I didn't want it to end, and I look forward hungrily to Ms. Greene's next book.
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Bookwomyn, February 18, 2010 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
The story is certainly different yet all too familiar - domestic abuse, child neglect, etc. But it's an interesting read - spinning a tale of a family's drama as told by six people. The author does a good job using local dialect of the Appalachian Region - something that would normally turn me off but it seems necessary in this book. The reader of the audio book (if you choose that format) is very good.
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Knopf Publishing Group -
Bloodroot Mountain is not a setting in Amy Greene's debut novel, it's a larger-than-life character: It has presence and life and story. Set in the Tennessee mountains during the Depression, Bloodroot tells the story of four generations of Lamb family women, who are rumored to be witches. Themes of love, truth, and beauty are pivotal, and they are explored with grace and hope, but there is also rage, wickedness, and hate. I raced through Bloodroot read it in one sitting because I absolutely could not put it down.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Despite a few vivid moments, this uneven debut, a four-generation Appalachian family epic, loses sight of the intriguing mythology it lays out early on. Though Byrdie Lamb inherited the mystical powers of the 'granny women' of her grandmother's mountain village, she's failed to protect her family: daughter Clio runs away from Bloodroot Mountain at 17 to get married and is later killed, along with her husband, in a car accident, leaving their daughter, Myra, in Byrdie's care. And though Byrdie tries to raise Myra right, Myra falls under the spell of an abusive alcoholic. Her children, twins Laura and Johnny, grow up largely in fear, and eventually social workers remove them from their home. As adults, they return for different reasons: she for comfort, he for revenge. Narrated by several members of the Lamb-Odom clan, the narrative initially swirls around the mystery of Byrdie's powers, but as the story plays out, her gift (or, perhaps, curse) is unfortunately backgrounded by the violence of those who marry into the family and sow ruin. Greene has a sharp eye for combustible moments and a fine ear for dialect, but the follow-through doesn't do justice to the setup." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Booklist (starred review),
"This stunning debut novel is a triumph of voice and setting....With a style as elegant as southern novelist Lee Smiths and a story as affecting as The Color Purple, this debut offers stirring testimony to the resilience of the human spirit."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Pitch-perfect voices tell a story loaded with lyric suffering and redemption — bound to be a huge hit."
by Silas House, author of Clay's Quilt and A Parchment of Leaves,
"Bloodroot is the best Appalachian novel to come out of the region in a long, long while, ushering in a fresh new voice that speaks for a whole generation."
by Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha,
"Bloodroot is a marvel of a first novel, its world deftly conjured, with a mood and magic all its own. I don't know what captivated me more, the vividness of its voices or its evocation of a corner of the American landscape both foreign and familiar — but I was riveted from start to finish."
by Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed,
"Amy Greene's Bloodroot can stand proudly beside Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle, two works which likewise examine the isometric push of the human spirit against the immovable forces of tyranny and poverty. Greene's novel has everything I savor in fiction: flawed but sympathetic characters, a narrative as unpredictable as it is engaging, and a setting rendered with such a vivid palette of local color detail that you'd swear you were there."
Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies — of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss — that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today. Here is a spellbinding tour de force that announces a dazzlingly fresh, natural-born storyteller in our midst.
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