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I was so moved by this novel. It left me to ponder: How many moral quandaries can a medium-sized novel hold?
I would have to place Chris Cander alongside Flannery O'Connor. Since Ms. O’Connor, I haven’t yet read another author who has fully captured Evil lurking beneath the Zealot’s cloak in religion as Ms. Cander did in WHISPER HOLLOW. The setting is Whisper Hollow, West Virginia, a coal mining town, from prior to WWI until the late 1960s.
It is a story exploring the bonds of the different kinds of love, amorous v. familial, true love v. the vows of a marriage arranged young. In the ruins of a coal mine disaster, Chris Cander paints a scene so strong and mired in moral dilemma it suffocates the soul. And cues a later scene that is at once devastating and redeeming. Not just because of the coal mining locale was I reminded of D. H. Lawrence in "Sons and Lovers."
Myself, I wish the publisher would change the cover which makes the novel appear to be something of a romance or romantic historical fiction. It’s neither.
"Whisper Hollow" is a masterful literary novel, as good as any I’ve read by modern authors.
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