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Gob's Grief: A Novelby Chris Adrian
Synopses & Reviews
In the summer of 1863, Gob and Tomo Woodhull, eleven-year-old twin sons of Victoria Woodhull, agree to together forsake their home and family in Licking County, Ohio, for the glories of the Union Army. But on the night of their departure for the war, Gob suffers a change of heart, and Tomo is forced to leave his brother behind. Tomo falls in as a bugler with the Ninth Ohio Volunteers and briefly revels in camp life; but when he is shot clean through the eye in his very first battle, Gob is left to endure the guilt and grief that will later come to fuel his obsession with building a vast machine that will bring Tomo–indeed, all the Civil War dead–back to life.
Epic in scope yet emotionally intimate, Gob’s Grief creates a world both fantastic and familiar and populates it with characters who breath on the page, capturing the spirit of a fevered nation populated with lost brothers and lost souls.
"[A] skillfully imagined first novel....The story is repeated from each new character's vantage...and though this allows for an admirably meticulous plot, it hampers the pacing and distances the reader from the difficult, unusual characters. Much like Gob's creation, the novel is a collection of fabulous parts in need of a heart to power them, yet impressing as a flight of fancy." Publishers Weekly
"[A] very adept first novel....Adrian blends two fictional techniques, in a mesmerizing combination, by taking the kind of authentic Civil War-era historical fiction made popular by Charles Frazier's...Cold Mountain and wedding it to the provocative, reality-bending tendencies found in magic realism....Displaying both talent and knowledge, Adrian captures the very tenor of that national madness in the pages of this completely compelling novel." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"Highly imaginative, this is a 'large,' complex, thought-provoking work sure to arouse much discussion." Library Journal
"A masterpiece of retrospective mythology. Adrian hasn't just reimagined or reenacted this time of national crisis; he's managed to relive it through his characters." GQ
"Remarkable...utterly different. A work unlike any that has come before it." The Economist
"Impressive. So much more ambitious and profound than most contemporary American fiction." The Washington Post
Years after his young brother, Tomo, is killed during the Civil War, a grieving Gob Woodhull, the son of nineteenth-century feminist Victoria Woodhull, now studying to become a doctor, concocts a scheme to build a machine that can restore all the war dead to life. A first novel. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
About the Author
Chris Adrians fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Story and in Best American Short Stories. Currently a medical student, he lives in San Francisco.
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