HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Kings of the Earth: A Novel by Jon Clinch
Loading...

Kings of the Earth: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Jon Clinch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
263None43,183 (3.83)57
Member:Cariola
Title:Kings of the Earth: A Novel
Authors:Jon Clinch
Info:Random House (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, General Fiction
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I love everything I've read by Clinch. This story about three brothers and the mystery surrounding the death of one brother. It's based on a true story sort of. Dark, ut a great read. ( )
  BreanneG | Feb 4, 2014 |
Compelling style serves as an auger drilling down into a pretty dark and sparse world. ( )
  mabroms | Sep 3, 2013 |
This novel is loosely based on a real life incident involving a family of four brothers near Syracuse, New York, one of whom was accused of killing another. The brothers were poor, illiterate dairy farmers who slept in the same bed. They lived lives that we would consider backward and primitive. Their story was previously told in a 1992 documentary, "Brother's Keeper", which focused on how the rural community rallied behind the accused Adelbert Ward, his trial, and its outcome. Even though they were in their sixties, the community referred to the Ward brothers as "boys", partly because they'd known them since boyhood, and partly due to their simple intellect. Their existence was hardscrabble. Both in the sense of hard work, and in the sense that playing Scrabble would have been very hard for them.

Taking these raw materials, Jon Clinch fleshes out a back-story for his fictional Ward avatars, the Proctors. In Clinch's novel, there are only three brothers, not four. And there's a sister who has escaped their rough way of life. Watching the documentary, I noted some of the real life details that Clinch used to color the story. The school bus used as a poultry coop. The stubborn barn door. The neighbor who took the "boys" under his wing. The way one of the brothers would tear batting from the old couch and roll it into little balls. The jars full of tobacco spit. The way the neighbors would shy away from the boys' odor when they'd eat at the diner.

The novel is less story oriented and more of a portrait of how such a family came to be, and how they survive. Clinch skips around in time from 1932 to 1990, each chapter having a year as its title, and with sub-chapters giving the event under consideration from a particular character's point of view, like an oral history. Thrown into the mix is a nephew, Tom, and the marijuana growing operation he sets up on his uncles' property, paying for the privilege by introducing Uncle Vernon to some smokable "cancer medicine".

After the novel gets going, the action splits into a few continuing narratives, offering some suspense. One thing the novel doesn't do is give you closure on the outcome of the trial of Creed (the Adelbert Ward avatar). For that, watch the movie.

After reading Clinch's first novel, [bc:Finn|102077|Finn|Jon Clinch|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320411359s/102077.jpg|2667456], and this one, I see that Clinch is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. ( )
  EricKibler | Apr 6, 2013 |
This novel is loosely based on a real life incident involving a family of four brothers near Syracuse, New York, one of whom was accused of killing another. The brothers were poor, illiterate dairy farmers who slept in the same bed. They lived lives that we would consider backward and primitive. Their story was previously told in a 1992 documentary, "Brother's Keeper", which focused on how the rural community rallied behind the accused Adelbert Ward, his trial, and its outcome. Even though they were in their sixties, the community referred to the Ward brothers as "boys", partly because they'd known them since boyhood, and partly due to their simple intellect. Their existence was hardscrabble. Both in the sense of hard work, and in the sense that playing Scrabble would have been very hard for them.

Taking these raw materials, Jon Clinch fleshes out a back-story for his fictional Ward avatars, the Proctors. In Clinch's novel, there are only three brothers, not four. And there's a sister who has escaped their rough way of life. Watching the documentary, I noted some of the real life details that Clinch used to color the story. The school bus used as a poultry coop. The stubborn barn door. The neighbor who took the "boys" under his wing. The way one of the brothers would tear batting from the old couch and roll it into little balls. The jars full of tobacco spit. The way the neighbors would shy away from the boys' odor when they'd eat at the diner.

The novel is less story oriented and more of a portrait of how such a family came to be, and how they survive. Clinch skips around in time from 1932 to 1990, each chapter having a year as its title, and with sub-chapters giving the event under consideration from a particular character's point of view, like an oral history. Thrown into the mix is a nephew, Tom, and the marijuana growing operation he sets up on his uncles' property, paying for the privilege by introducing Uncle Vernon to some smokable "cancer medicine".

After the novel gets going, the action splits into a few continuing narratives, offering some suspense. One thing the novel doesn't do is give you closure on the outcome of the trial of Creed (the Adelbert Ward avatar). For that, watch the movie.

After reading Clinch's first novel, Finn, and this one, I see that Clinch is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. ( )
  EricKibler | Apr 5, 2013 |
The aged Proctor brothers live in squalid disarray on a rundown farm in rural upstate NY. The story opens with oldest brother Vernon dying in his sleep but the medical examiner has raised some question as to whether or not it was a natural death after all and they question younger brother Creed. That leaves feeble-minded middle brother Audie. Del Graham, the State Police officer arriving to investigate, notes:

”The house smelled like cow manure and dry rot and spoiled food. Like tobacco and burnt rope and rat droppings. Like old men and sickness and death….He walked past the old man who sat on the porch with his long white beard pooling in his lap and his hands knotted over his hairless scalp, and he went through the open front door as into a mouth full of rotted teeth. The disarray and the stink. The order and the purposefulness gone to no use in the end.” (Page 18)

Did I mention that these men slept together…in the same bed? Since they were boys. So the question becomes not did Creed kill his brother but the more complicated, how do people live like this in apparent ignorant bliss? And Clinch utilizes pitch-perfect prose to tell this story---gritty, unsentimental, stark and tenacious.

After opening with that death, Clinch goes on to tell the story of three generations of the Proctor family and it’s in the telling of the story that we realize what a talent Clinch is. The narrative is told through multiple viewpoints, and shifts back and forth in time from 1932 to the year of Vernon’s death, 1990. In the hands of a less skillful writer this kind of format could be a disastrous, convoluted and mawkish tale but in Clinch’s hands it comes through beautifully and seamlessly and had me furiously turning pages. Multi-layered; haunting, gritty prose and a story that might seem unbelievable if it weren’t for the fact that it was based on the true story of the Ward brothers of Munnsville, NY and very highly recommended.. ( )
7 vote brenzi | Oct 30, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

On a primitive farm on the margins of an upstate New York town, three Proctor brothers live together in a kind of crumbling stasis--until one of them dies in his sleep and the other two are suspected of murder. A deeply intimate saga of the human condition at its limits.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
237 wanted2 pay3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.83)
0.5 2
1
1.5
2 2
2.5 1
3 13
3.5 7
4 24
4.5 5
5 15

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,428,924 books! | Top bar: Always visible