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Kings of the Earth: A Novel by Jon Clinch
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Kings of the Earth: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Jon Clinch

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2791740,505 (3.91)59
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, To read
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Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Dark, stark and, oddly enough, funny at times. The story of three brothers who've lived their entire lives on a farm in Upstate New York, sharing the same bed, and wearing the same clothes by the sound of it. Clinch's style is simple and direct, and incredibly powerful. Think if Faulkner and Kent Haruf had a baby. Okay, that would be weird, but you catch my drift. I read Kings of the Earth two years ago and still think of it from time to time. What book have you read recently you can say that about? ( )
  SonjaYoerg | Oct 1, 2014 |
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 |
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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)

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