This book was suggested and gifted to me by my mother-in-love (law - Lisa K Marling, Ph.D., MFA) She runs the theatre Preble Players and teaches at the university. I can always count on her for good book recs.
I devoured it in a day and a half.
5 plus stars
Such a wonderful well well-written lyrical novel with a great pacing including so many characters whose stories build the story of a community.
It starts lighter, the character Malachi even brings some humor at the start with (felt to me) a hint of magic realism to the plot. Then we become more involved with all the characters who have different religions, celebrations, beliefs and cultures but are all "Americans".
This is my first contact with this author's work and I loved it. It will make you sad and infuriated with the cruelty of some scenes but they are well balanced with acts of friendship, kindness, and humanity.
This novel has so many good quotes worth underlying and simple scenes (like the kids paying for food with colored marbles), that are wonderful all related to my favorite character: Chona. Her strength and kindness became the glue of Chicken Hill People that brought all different PEOPLE together. She saw no color only justice, and righteousness, and cared for them all. And even when she couldn't, they continued to be united. She was smart, educated, and gentle. I love that each chapter tells us a bit of a different character from Chicken Hill, of their story but in a way always related to Chona during her life, with her at the center of this novel, and characters making the story of a community stronger.
Some parts are hard to read (closer to the end), but it is also a great closure to one slice of a community surviving on a hill. This read took me back to Brazilian literature that portrays the misery but the joy of the families united by their kindness and need to survive in Rio's Morro and Favelas.
I love to finish a book and finally understand the cover artwork that sometimes has more meaning, and it's more than just a simple graphic.
When you finish reading this book, go back and reread the prologue.