NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITOR'S CHOICE
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.
Following Kind One, Hunt returns to the 19th century to transform a footnote in history the women who fought disguised as men in the Civil War into a haunting meditation on the complexity of human character, the power of secrets, and the contradictions of the American experience. Saying that "he was made out of wool and I was made out of wire," Constance Thompson leaves her husband Bartholomew to work their Indiana farm and enlists in the Union Army as Ash Thompson. Her strength, fortitude, and marksmanship serve her disguise well, and soldiering seems to offer some of the change she has craved. But the carnage inevitably takes its toll. Captured by bounty hunters, Constance must use both cunning and violence to escape. After an injury separates her from her unit, the nurse with whom she's sheltered betrays her to the military authorities, and she is put in a madhouse. Though she finds her way back home, the war's brutality has changed both her and the farm so much that familiar grounds offers no peace, only pain. Hunt's characterization of Constance transcends simplistic distinctions between male and female, good and bad. The language of her narration is triumphant as well: sometimes blunt, sometimes visionary, and always fascinating.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Truly an amazing book. Illustrates the human condition better than anything I’ve read in a long time.
Great read. Wonderful writing style. Told in the first person vernacular of the day by the main character, Ash Thompson.