My rating: 5 of 5 stars
12 stars of 5!
Perusing this novel’s foreword by acclaimed author Joe R. Lansdale really raised the bar of my expectations for this story. Mr. Lansdale calls Author Barrett one of the last true storytellers, and in my view this is highly accurate. I was immediately caught up in the tale, nearly a participant rather than an observer. There’s no question of suspension of disbelief in this tale; it occurs involuntarily. The painting Mr. Barrett sets out to create is incredibly detailed, a tapestry with sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and touches-well-defined characters, and a plot with secrets lurking just under the surface, rising only for a moment to peek at the reader with a sharp wink and then disappearing.
In this horrible post-apocalyptic America, where farmers and townspeople and cavalry and government strive to carry on just as if the “War” had never occurred and wiped out wildlife other than birds and fish, the reader has become part of the tale and is living through it along with the characters-both those human and those not-so-human. This was an enrapturing read for a Sunday afternoon, without noise and without distractions, I was so caught up in the story and its settings. Neal Barrett Jr. is now one of my must-read-authors. I think I could read a version of the phone book if he composed it.
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