A masterful recasting of David Copperfield, narrated by an Appalachian boy whose wise, unwavering voice relates his encounters with poverty, addiction, institutional failures and moral collapse-and his efforts to conquer them. - the Pulitzer
TWICE WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE JAMES TAIT BLACK PRIZE FOR FICTION
THE MULTI-MILLION COPY SELLING AUTHOR
BOOK AT BEDTIME ON BBC RADIO 4
AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK
'She means to save us by telling us stories. . . She comes closer than anyone else I know.' ANN PATCHETT
'Electrifying. . . Every sentence here sizzles.' Daily Mail
'It's EPIC. Righteously angry, DEEPLY moving and exquisitely written.' MARIAN KEYES
'A powerful tale.' Good Housekeeping
'A fantastic read.' EMILY MAITLIS
'A masterclass.' RICHARD POWERS
Demon Copperhead is a once-in-a-generation novel that breaks and mends your heart in the way only the best fiction can.
Demon's story begins with his traumatic birth to a single mother in a single-wide trailer, looking 'like a little blue prizefighter.' For the life ahead of him he would need all of that fighting spirit, along with buckets of charm, a quick wit, and some unexpected talents, legal and otherwise.
In the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, poverty isn't an idea, it's as natural as the grass grows. For a generation growing up in this world, at the heart of the modern opioid crisis, addiction isn't an abstraction, it's neighbours, parents, and friends. 'Family' could mean love, or reluctant foster care. For Demon, born on the wrong side of luck, the affection and safety he craves is as remote as the ocean he dreams of seeing one day. The wonder is in how far he's willing to travel to try and get there.
Suffused with truth, anger and compassion, Demon Copperhead is an epic tale of love, loss and everything in between.
'Legit about to get an 'I'd rather be reading Demon Copperhead' sticker for my Nissan Murano.' ROB DELANEY
What readers are saying:
***** 'An amazing, beautifully written story I cannot wait to recommend to everyone I know.'
***** 'Powerful and brilliant. To immerse yourself in a Kingsolver novel is to put yourself in the hands of a master.'
***** 'A must read and heart-opening book.'
***** 'Raw, angry, starkly beautiful. . . Genuinely one of the best books I've ever read.'
***** 'Amazingly complex. . . [Kingsolver] is, by far, one of the greatest living authors'
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With a hat tip to David Copperfield, Barbara Kingsolver’s brilliant novel portrays a modern-day Appalachia that’s every bit as dangerous and unforgiving as Dickens’ Victorian London. Young Demon was born into an area of rural Tennessee where the only constants are poverty, drugs and a dearth of opportunities. After losing his teen athletic gifts to a knee injury, Demon’s future looks grim. Saddled with a drug-addicted mother, a tragic father, and a system that never fails to fail, Demon faces a daunting journey. We love how Kingsolver never diminishes the darkness of Demon’s world, yet still manages to provide points of light like his determined foster sister, Angus, an academic star with big plans to help the entire community. Kingsolver is a staggeringly talented storyteller. She can’t change the real-world hardships that Demon faces, but she can make us see them in a new light.
Kingsolver (Unsheltered) offers a deeply evocative story of a boy born to an impoverished single mother. In this self-styled, modern adaptation of Dickens's David Copperfield, Demon Copperhead, 11, is the quick-witted son and budding cartoonist of a troubled young mother and a stepfather in southern Appalachia's Lee County, Va.; eventually, his mother's opioid addiction places Demon in various foster homes, where he is forced to earn his keep through work (even though his guardians are paid) and is always hungry from lack of food. After a guardian steals his money, Demon hitchhikes to Tennessee in search of his paternal grandmother. She is welcoming, but will not raise him, and sends him back to live with the town's celebrated high school football coach as his new guardian, a widower who lives in a castle-like home with his boyish daughter, Angus. Demon's teen years settle briefly with fame on the football field and a girlfriend, Dori. But stability is short-lived after a football injury and as he and Dori become addicted to opioids ("We were storybook orphans on drugs"). Kingsolver's account of the opioid epidemic and its impact on the social fabric of Appalachia is drawn to heartbreaking effect. This is a powerful story, both brilliant in its many social messages regarding foster care, child hunger, and rural struggles, and breathless in its delivery.
Shaky to start but kept going and her narrative kept giving. One of the most gifted novelists of today.
A beautiful gift…
Tears still leaking from my eyes.
This novel took me down to a place I know well enough from my childhood, same but different. I held out until the last chapter when the the improbable impossible beauty of the whole sad mess broke me. I might be crying because the tale has ended, never have I wanted a book to not end more. Thank you BK