Where All Light Tends to Go

  • by David Joy
  • Narrated by MacLeod Andrews
  • 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the country-noir tradition of Winter's Bone meets Breaking Bad, a savage and beautiful story of a young man seeking redemption.
The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually. The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town.
Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when a fatal mistake changes everything, he's faced with a choice: stay and appease his father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he's ever known.


Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2015 - Where All Light Tends to Go was first described to me as Breaking Bad meets Winter's Bone. I was in the middle of binge-watching Walter White's journey at the time – and couldn't get enough – so had to start reading this book. David Joy's debut, about a young man trying to escape the cycle of violence passed on in his family, is beautifully written and truly haunting. It's dark, gritty, and not for the faint of heart. I can't help but think that Joy – who I'm told is a big fan of audio – will be just as excited as we are to have listener favorite MacLeod Andrews performing his work. —Diana, Audible Editor


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Wow this is a great book, I just loved it.
The development of the main character was so deep and thorough, I was completely invested in what happened to him. He was flawed and likable and I really rooted for him.
The other main "character" in this book was the setting of the story. There was a darkness, and a hopelessness, that had such a weight that it brought it's own emotional reaction.
The story, and pace, and interactions were perfect. The story was very centered around the main character and how he interacted with the other characters, but it was done with a great story, good action, and a great pace.
I don't have a single negative critique about this book.
The narrator was ridiculously perfect. I'm not sure I've ever heard a better pairing of a book and a narrator as this one. As an audible listener, the experience is definitely better than reading it. The narrator brought an extra depth to the story.
I highly recommend this book.
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- Marci

'Savagely Moving'

Bam! Bam! Author Mark Rubinstein nailed it with those two words he used to describe this novel: "Savagely Moving." There is a beauty to this novel that revolves slowly outside and around a spinning vortex of violence and hopelessness; it's razor thin shafts of glittering brilliance slicing through a darkness. Shades of Woodrell's *Hillbilly Noir* masterpiece, Winter's Bone, run through the writing and story, and fans of the series "Breaking Bad" might get a sense of Jesse Pinkman. It is atmospheric in a claustrophobic way, where every day is an exhausting struggle for hope.

It's graduation time in the rural North Carolina town of Cashiers. Jacob is a hard-boiled HS drop-out that watches his friends' celebrations with a removed kind of wisdom. The son of a brutal and ruthless meth kingpin, and an addict mother, he has long since given up on his own future and reconciled his role as drug pusher. He knows that dreams are just one-winged birds, in this town corrupted by drugs and violence. His daddy's empire has been built upon destroyed dreams, and that legacy is coiling tighter around Jacob as his daddy tires of the business. But Jacob still has dreams for his girlfriend -- a girl he thinks is destined for more than wallowing in this town. A botched collection leaves a witness that could bring down the family business, and as Jacob's daddy switches into survival mode, Jacob sees how dangerously deep the tentacles of this legacy (and his daddy) really are.

The story is told in the voice of Jacob; always living in this dysfunction, his inner dialogue is a churning kind of logic without emotions that have been nurtured. It is survival and instinct. David Joy turns the language of the Appalachians into a kind of poetry that is raw and tinged with desperation. It fills you with an ache, a desire to take this character out of the pages. The novel is heavy and readable only because you believe nothing can be so disparaging -- there must be some light...but that brightness comes only from excellent writing.

David Joy gives a very admirable debut, which goes without mentioning when compared with Woodrell's work (an author called the "poet of the Ozarks, and a personal favorite). I believe he will be an author to watch, an author with staying power. WALTTG will not be forgotten after the praise and comparisons turn into forgotten lines in unprofessional reviews, and sales have slowed; it will sit on the top shelves with other great books considered important pieces of literature of the American South.

The narration is flawless and mercilessly takes you into Jacob's mind and heart. Recommend for the writing -- and the story if you can handle it.
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- Mel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-03-2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio