Understanding that her more delicate husband would never survive the Civil War, Constance Thompson takes up the moniker Ash, disquises herself as a man and joins the Union army in his stead. Inspired by true stories of women who wore blue and gray, readers should not dismiss Neverhome as one novel among many. War is an inexhaustible setting for writers, so near death as to make every facet of life available to explore, but this story is told by someone who is dressed as and must act as a man, but sees through the eyes of a woman. Neverhome is an eloquent and potent novel.
She calls herself Ash, but that's not her real name. She is a farmer's faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. Neverhome tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to the American cause.
Laird Hunt's dazzling new novel throws a light on the adventurous women who chose to fight instead of stay behind. It is also a mystery story: why did Ash leave and her husband stay? Why can she not return? What will she have to go through to make it back home?
In gorgeous prose, Hunt's rebellious young heroine fights her way through history, and back home to her husband, and finally into our hearts.
About the Author
Laird Hunt is the author of several works of fiction and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, a two-time finalist for the PEN Center USA Award in Fiction, and the winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award. A former United Nations press officer currently on the faculty of the University of Denver's creative writing program, he and his wife, the poet Eleni Sikelianos, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their daughter, Eva Grace.
Praise for Neverhome…
"A spare, beautiful novel, so deeply about America and the
language of America that its sentences seem to rise up from the earth
itself. Laird Hunt had me under his spell from the first word of Neverhome to the last. Magnificent."—Paul Auster, author of The New York Trilogy and Report from the Interior
"In fiercely gorgeous prose, Laird Hunt's Neverhome traces the mesmerizing odyssey of a singular woman, who stretches and shimmers from these pages, and stakes a piercing claim on our hearts. You won't soon forget Ash Thompson's voice or this astonishing novel."—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
"Laird Hunt's new novel is a beguiling and evocative story about love and loss, duty and deceit. Through the assured voice of his narrator and the subtle beauty of his writing, Neverhome took me on a journey so thoroughly engrossed that there were times the pages seemed to turn themselves."—Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
"The Civil War has given us so many great literary works that I couldn't have imagined a new fictional approach that was both stunningly original and yet utterly natural, even inevitable. But this is just what Laird Hunt brilliantly delivers in his new novel. The key is his central character: in her voice, her personality, her yearning, she deeply touches our shared and enduring humanity. Neverhome is masterful work by one of our finest writers."—Robert Olen Butler, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain