The Line That Held Us

The Line That Held UsThe Line That Held Us by David Joy
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on August 14th 2018
Pages: 272
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four-half-stars

“In that moment, he knew that he was standing in the midst of something that would never be forgotten, something he would carry from this place and bear the rest of his life. There was no turning back. That single certainty consumed him.”

Darl Moody makes a series of bad decisions. He decides to hunt out of season on another man’s land. He is hunting for many reasons: he loves hunting, he helps put food on his sister’s table, and he desperately wants to get that back which has eluded him for years. But he makes a horribly tragic mistake- he shoots a man. He knows the man he has shot, Carol “Sissy” Brewer, who was attempting to steal some ginseng at the time he was shot. Brewer comes from a violent family, and Darl, desperate and worried about the consequences of his actions, calls his best friend, Calvin Hooper to help him. Darl and Calvin have been best friends their entire lives, Calvin cannot say no when his friend needs him the most.

“The only reason we’re here is because of the ones we loved. That’s the line that held us.”

Dwayne Brewer goes looking for his brother, Carol, when he fails to show up. Dwayne is not one to let things lie and will not back down until he knows what happened to his brother. Eventually, he learns the truth and goes on a collision course of vengeance and revenge. His brother was the one good thing in his life, the one person he loved. Dwayne will not stop until he makes everyone involved pay for what was taken from him. Dwayne is a mountain of a man who reads the bible, quotes bible verses and firmly believes in “an eye for an eye.”

“Things had a way of never leaving these mountains. Stories took root like everything else. He was a part of one now, part of a story that would never be forgotten, and that made bearing the truth all the more heavy.”

An accidental shooting in the woods and the deadly aftermath could be a very sad yet simple tale – but not in the hands of David Joy. In the pages of “The Line that held us”, Joy has created a beautifully written gritty novel set in Appalachia. This book is violent, heart breaking and gut wrenching. The characters in this book are struggling – struggling with the consequences of their actions, struggling with poverty, struggling with loss, struggling with grief, struggling with keeping secrets, struggling with doing the right thing and struggling to survive. Love, loyalty, friendship, rage, loss, despair, and revenge are all combined and laid bare.

“…that some people were born too soft to bear the teeth of this world. There was no place for weakness in a world like this. Survival was so often a matter of meanness.”

I was glued to the pages and found myself highlighting large portions of this book as the writing was eloquent and beautiful. The characters in this book are fully developed. Love them or hate them, we know as a reader what makes each tick, what motivates them, and what they have to lose (if anything). This book won’t be for everyone. There are some very disturbing scenes, but if you can stomach the raw and gruesome sections, you might just be amazed at the vivid and beautiful writing. I had a clear picture in my mind of the characters and the setting the entire time I was reading almost as if I were watching a movie. One can almost feel the feelings of loss, desperation, rage and fear dripping off the pages.

This book is heavy. It’s full of raw emotion and I wanted to go hug a puppy after reading this book to clear away some of the gloom. This book is beautifully tragic. The Lien that Held us is beautifully written, well thought out, perfectly paced and hard to put down. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Penguin book Putnam and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

four-half-stars