I want to be able to just put this book in your hands and say, "trust me." This tale takes place during the Civil War. Ash decides to join the war in place of her husband, who remains behind to tend the homestead. Based on actual letters written by women, who fought as men in that war, Ash's voice is original and compelling, as she reels out her unique tale. At times mythic and adventurous, and other times crushingly realistic about the violence of war, this was one of my favorite books in recent years, and I hope it becomes one of your's too.
Why have I not read Laird Hunt before? This novel is so spare yet so rich. The character of Ash Thompson is an amazing creation and her story is utterly moving and captivating. This is historical fiction unlike that you've read before.
“Leaving her beloved husband behind to tend their Indiana farm, Constance Thompson binds her breasts and dons men's clothing to become Ash, nicknamed 'Gallant Ash' by her fellow Union soldiers. With spare, poetic, transcendent prose, Hunt portrays the horror of the Civil War and the fallout from the trauma experienced by soldiers, their families, and the country at large. Ash is a fascinating and enigmatic character, keeping secrets from everyone she encounters and keeping the reader enthralled as her shocking story unfolds. Neverhome will surely join the ranks of the brilliant novels not just of the Civil War, but of war writ large.”
— Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITOR'S CHOICE
Inaugural winner of the Grand Prix de la Littérature Américaine
She calls herself Ash, but that's not her real name. She is a farmer's faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. NEVERHOME tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to the American cause.
Laird Hunt's dazzling new novel throws a light on the adventurous women who chose to fight instead of stay behind. It is also a mystery story: why did Ash leave and her husband stay? Why can she not return? What will she have to go through to make it back home?
In gorgeous prose, Hunt's rebellious young heroine fights her way through history, and back home to her husband, and finally into our hearts.
About the Author
Laird Hunt is the author of several works of fiction and a two-time finalist for the PEN Center USA Award in Fiction. A former United Nations press officer currently on the faculty of the University of Denver's creative writing program, he and his wife, the poet Eleni Sikelianos, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their daughter, Eva Grace.