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The Weight of This World by David Joy

The Weight of This World

by David Joy

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Haunting. ( )
  Mitchell_Bergeson_Jr | Aug 6, 2017 |
Talented storyteller, David Joy returns following his outstanding debut, Where All the Light Tends to Go to rural North Carolina mountains of Appalachia with another dark, gritty Southern noir THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD. From flawed and tortured souls, in search of light within the darkness.

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

In Sylva, NC Aiden McCall, at the young age of twelve, witnessed his dad murder his mother, then turn the gun on himself. A sight which would haunt him for the rest of his life. His worst fear was becoming his father one day.

Growing up in a group home he only had one friend, Thad Broom. Thad had his own past. Aiden had always believed that as time moved on the world would open up, that life would get easier rather than harder.

Hard led to harder. Life had a way of wearing a man down into nothing. The older he got the more complicated the world had become.

With enough money and a fresh start, Aiden and Thad could set things right. However, the housing bubble burst and jobs dried up. Thad was on deployment in Afghanistan when the construction business went to pot.

Those years Thad got to leave Aiden was jealous. But when Thad came back, Aiden was not sure who had it better or worse. If they could only leave the mountains. Aiden thought somewhere like Asheville, Hendersonville, or Atlanta for a fresh start. An opportunity for a better life.

April Trantham, Thad’s mother, had her own problems and past, starting from a young age. When the boys were in high school April inherited six acres and an old run down house and a single wide from the old man George had cancer.

April and Aiden find comfort in one another while Thad is away. Thad returns after a traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan he is never the same, more damaged than when he left. The three of them want to escape their traumas; however, the weight of the world is heavy around them, and they cannot seem to escape.

. . . “There were so many horrible things they had buried inside themselves, all of the memories that had come to govern their lives. He found himself wishing that he could have been the one to bear it all. He wished that he could have taken all of the bad in this world and piled it onto himself so that he would have been the one to ever know that kind of suffering.”

From drugs, hatred, murder, crime and violence. Thad and Aiden’s drug dealer accidentally kills himself, leaving the two young men with drugs and cash; however, they cannot seem to pull themselves from the darkness. A drug- deal gone, bad.

. . . “Things weren’t okay. Everything wasn’t going to be all right. The world was entirely broken,”

Thad soon realizes that dying was a one-way ticket to judgment and it made no difference whether it came now or years down the road. He would be judged on his way to find redemption.

A mother who had not fully given herself to motherhood and her son, due to her own demons of pain and her innocence stolen. Aiden, trying to forget his haunted past. Did some people deserve to die? People had choices. These three may have more in common than they know.

As in his first book, David Joy skillfully balances the all-consuming brutality and darkness of his characters with the lyrical beauty of his writing. He captures the emotions, the setting, the culture; from crimes, dysfunction, hatred and poison, and struggles of the wounded human spirit, often with limited choices and repeating their own environment.

Told with compassion, from sadness to hope. Fans of gritty Southern noirs/literature and authors Ron Rash, Wiley Cash and John Hart will appreciate this skillfully written tale.

A special thank you to Penguin Putman and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (Also purchased audiobook)


David Joy's books are always meant to be read, pondered, and listened to. MacLeod Andrews is a perfect narrator for THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD, as he was for Where All Light Tends to Go. Both 5 Stars.

A great Q&A with the Author: Smoky Mountain News
The weight of desire: David Joy releases second book ( )
  JudithDCollins | Apr 17, 2017 |
Set in Jackson County, North Carolina, this book is about childhood friends Thad and Aiden and Thad's mother April. Aiden was orphaned by an act of murder/suicide when he was very young. Thad, while not technically an orphan, never had the love of a family. I've grown a little tired of grit lit, which tends to be cliche-ridden, but I really liked this book. Yes, there were guns and meth, but this was more a story of inevitable tragedy than it was of stupid people making bad choices. The three characters felt very real, trapped in a place where none of them wanted to be. When Thad and Aiden rob a dead meth dealer, that move seems not just dumb but also understandable under the circumstances and acts as a catalyst, taking the characters to the place that their pasts had already doomed them.

I loved the author's writing style and I cared about each of the characters. The reason that I wasn't crazy about the epilogue was that it smashed my hopes for one of the characters into smithereens. I will definitely read more by this author. The narration of the audiobook by MacLeod Andrews also very good.

I received a free copy of the e-book from the publisher, however I wound up listening to the audiobook borrowed from the library. ( )
  fhudnell | Mar 27, 2017 |
'The Weight of This World', David Joy's 2nd novel, was a slog through 250+ pages of unpleasantness. Written in the vernacular of the mountain folk of North Carolina, as was his first (the excellent 'Where All Light Tends to Go'), it's the story of three friends/relatives/roommates (it's complicated....) struggling to get by in the mountains of NC. There's heavy use of nasty drugs (meth), violence, sex, alcohol abuse, gunplay, and all the other fun things people do to forget about their unfortunate lots in life. It's a real downer of a book.

I really enjoyed Joy's writing in his first novel, but in this one the language doesn't seem quite as lyrical. Just an overall impression- couldn't really cite chapter and verse on specific examples. The fact that there are no sympathetic characters whatsoever in the book was a problem for me. I'll gladly wade through a well-written novel with unsavory characters if at there's at least one that I can 'root' for that can keep me engaged. In this case, differing gradations of 'bad' was all that separated the characters but there was no one that I really gave a crap about.

Hopefully, David Joy will try his hand at a different genre and succeed admirably. I'm personally burned out on his meth-head hillbilly characters. ( )
  gmmartz | Mar 25, 2017 |
Review to follow. ( )
  JudithDCollins | Mar 20, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399173110, Hardcover)

Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as “a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature” (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.

A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom can’t leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years. Between them is Aiden McCall, loyal to both but unable to hold them together. Connected by bonds of circumstance and duty, friendship and love, these three lives are blown apart when Aiden and Thad witness the accidental death of their drug dealer and a riot of dope and cash drops in their laps. On a meth-fueled journey to nowhere, they will either find the grit to overcome the darkness or be consumed by it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 28 Nov 2016 22:16:04 -0500)

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