By: David Joy
Publication Date: 3/7/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
Talented storyteller, David Joy returns following his outstanding debut, Where All the Light Tends to Go to rural North Carolina mountains of Appalachia with another dark, gritty Southern noir THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD. From flawed and tortured souls, in search of light within the darkness.
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
In Sylva, NC Aiden McCall, at the young age of twelve, witnessed his dad murder his mother, then turn the gun on himself. A sight which would haunt him for the rest of his life. His worst fear was becoming his father one day.
Growing up in a group home he only had one friend, Thad Broom. Thad had his own past. Aiden had always believed that as time moved on the world would open up, that life would get easier rather than harder.
Hard led to harder. Life had a way of wearing a man down into nothing. The older he got the more complicated the world had become.
With enough money and a fresh start, Aiden and Thad could set things right. However, the housing bubble burst and jobs dried up. Thad was on deployment in Afghanistan when the construction business went to pot.
Those years Thad got to leave Aiden was jealous. But when Thad came back, Aiden was not sure who had it better or worse. If they could only leave the mountains. Aiden thought somewhere like Asheville, Hendersonville, or Atlanta for a fresh start. An opportunity for a better life.
April Trantham, Thad’s mother, had her own problems and past, starting from a young age. When the boys were in high school April inherited six acres and an old run down house and a single wide from the old man George had cancer.
April and Aiden find comfort in one another while Thad is away. Thad returns after a traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan he is never the same, more damaged than when he left. The three of them want to escape their traumas; however, the weight of the world is heavy around them, and they cannot seem to escape.
. . . “There were so many horrible things they had buried inside themselves, all of the memories that had come to govern their lives. He found himself wishing that he could have been the one to bear it all. He wished that he could have taken all of the bad in this world and piled it onto himself so that he would have been the one to ever know that kind of suffering.”
From drugs, hatred, murder, crime and violence. Thad and Aiden’s drug dealer accidentally kills himself, leaving the two young men with drugs and cash; however, they cannot seem to pull themselves from the darkness. A drug- deal gone, bad.
. . . “Things weren’t okay. Everything wasn’t going to be all right. The world was entirely broken,”
Thad soon realizes that dying was a one-way ticket to judgment and it made no difference whether it came now or years down the road. He would be judged on his way to find redemption.
A mother who had not fully given herself to motherhood and her son, due to her own demons of pain and her innocence stolen. Aiden, trying to forget his haunted past. Did some people deserve to die? People had choices. These three may have more in common than they know.
As in his first book, David Joy skillfully balances the all-consuming brutality and darkness of his characters with the lyrical beauty of his writing. He captures the emotions, the setting, the culture; from crimes, dysfunction, hatred and poison, and struggles of the wounded human spirit, often with limited choices and repeating their own environment.
Told with compassion, from sadness to hope. Fans of gritty Southern noirs/literature and authors Ron Rash, Wiley Cash and John Hart will appreciate this skillfully written tale.
A special thank you to Penguin Putman and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (Also purchased audiobook)
David Joy's books are always meant to be read, pondered, and listened to. MacLeod Andrews is a perfect narrator for THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD, as he was for Where All Light Tends to Go. Both 5 Stars.
A great Q&A with the Author: Smoky Mountain News
The weight of desire: David Joy releases second book