It’s tea time for two of the three remaining residents of New Eden. He’s 99, she’s about to turn 100. Heading their way, hoping to break up this tea, is the third human still standing in this strange, isolated town, himself a spry 89 years old and carrying with him the deep secret he’s been holding all his adult life. Robert Hill’s marvelously bizarre tale is full of rollicking weirdness, quirky characters with names like Brisket Whiskerhooven and Remedial Bliss — and some of the best, most brilliant wordsmithing I’ve ever read. But though I could joyfully swallow this book whole for the writing alone, Hill’s voice-magic and humor never gets in the way of — and in fact somehow enhance — the deep-down humanness and sadness and beauty of the story. The Remnants is truly a book unlike any I’ve read before. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
Wow, what a book! Robert Hill's The Remnants takes an intense look at the small and dying town of New Eden, Somewhere, USA. Its residents are aging — and so very, very interrelated — and New Eden is assuredly creeping towards its last days.
Hill's characters are so precisely written, they feel as real as you and me, despite the generations of inbreeding, which have left them somewhere off the "normal" scale. Yet, these folks love and hope and yearn like the rest of us, and their stories are magical.
Hill has the silver tongue of a master wordsmith. His gorgeous prose rambles from hilarious to sly to clever, and then doubles back so it can dive right off into beautiful, heartsick, and poignant. A standout story with unbelievably effective prose, The Remnants is my favorite 2016 title. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
As the wind picks up and the sky grays over, Kennesaw trudges the remaining miles into town, catching his breath by the hole in the stone wall at Nedewen Field where dust returns to dust. He passes the broken stone markers that show their old age like chipped teeth in a mouth full of mourning, and lays to rest the memories of those who have gone before him. He continues on down the gravel road and crosses the tangled patch that had once been the village green, and past the strip of acre beside the barn behind True's house where the prized row of Granny-Macs once stood. Its taken him all of the morning and most of the afternoon and much of the last ninety-nine years to reach here. The weather is due to turn calamitous. Kennesaw runs a moist hand across his moist scalp as he continues on his way to True's. He approaches her plain front gate where he rests a moment before starting up again and making his way up her walkway and onto her front stone slab, which is only a pebble less settled than his.
One arm pumping and then the other. One leg shuffling and then the other. One ache and then another and then another and then another. And this is how the aged walk into heaven.
He's ninety-nine. Its been a long journey. Tea sounds good to him.
Robert Hill's second novel, The Remnants, is an ebullient ode to the last days of the last three residents of the town of New Eden. It follows his highly acclaimed debut, When All Is Said and Done (Graywolf Press, 2006), which was shortlisted for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and touted as "a bravura and resounding performance" by Donna Seaman of Booklist.
“It is for aficionados, for readers who let sentences dissolve blissfully on their tongues, for those who can’t help but swoon over the playful and well-executed marriage of high diction to character names like Intermediate Hurlbutt and Righteous Whiskerhooven. It’s a masterpiece meant not for plot-lovers, but for literati on the search for an uncommon satisfaction.” Brandi Dawn Henderson, PosLit
“Such extravagant, rambunctious delicious language! And a sad and wonderful story of the end of the town of New Eden and its inbred and lyrical inhabitants. I have never read a book like this before. It defies genre.” Cindy Heidemann, field sales, Legato Publishers Group
“Wholly unexpected and unique, Hill fills his bewitching telling of the last days of a small town and its few remaining genetically compromised residents with wordplay that belies the power of connection, memory, and community.” Elisa Saphier, lead bookseller and owner, Another Read Through
“What a lyric and wild romp of language, life, love. Reading The Remnants reminded me why I love to read, why I love to write.” Gina Ochsner, author of The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight and The Hidden Letters of Velta B.
“Bold, brilliant, and touching, The Remnants is a eulogy for a world in which humanity is treasured—a celebration of life in all its imperfect glory.” Rene Denfeld, author of The Enchanted
About the Author
Robert Hill is a New Englander by birth, a West Coaster by choice, and an Oregonian by osmosis. As a writer, he has worked in advertising, entertainment, educational software, and not-for-profit fundraising. He is a recipient of a Literary Arts Walt Morey Fellowship, a Breadloaf Writers Conference Fellowship, and his first novel, When All Is Said and Done (Graywolf, 2006), was shortlisted for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction.
Robert Hill on PowellsBooks.Blog
I used to own a house that had about an acre of sloping land, and when I bought it, nearly half that acre was entombed in blackberries. The day I closed and got the keys, I walked down to the entombed half and started to bushwhack through it just to see what was there. To my surprise, there was a small shed built long ago...