Demon Copperhead (Compact Disc)
What story worth its telling isn’t about the capacity to love? Some are simply that, romance novels that delve into the heart of what draws us to each other and the foibles we create and overcome to find romantic love. Some are stories of pain and tribulations: poverty, racism, the multitude of cruelties humankind have proven themselves oh so capable of inflicting upon each other over and over and over, because they think the own somehow better than others. Hillbilly Elegy claimed to give the Appalachian people a voice, but the author’s own bitterness, self-importance, lack of heart and soul, and political ambition failed the people he claimed to speak for. But Barbara Kingsolver has given Demon, his family, his friends, his enemies voice. Beware, it is the voice of human beings, at once deeply flawed and beautiful, and it calls all of us to account for our ignorance and judgement. Ultimately, this is a story of a boy and a place both beautiful and dangerous, and most of all, it is a love story.— Linda
It’s hard to find words to describe how much of a masterpiece this is. But I’ll try. Kingsolver based this book off of the Dickens classic David Copperfield, but instead of Victorian England, she sticks you in the thick of the opioid epidemic in Virginia’s Appalachian mountains. We follow the unwanted and oft abused Damon from harsh trailer park life into even harsher foster homes as he bounces around, mistreated, used, ignored, doing his best to be invisible so no one notices he’s hungry and dirty. Through it all his gritty resilience and laugh out loud wit makes you love this young boy harder than you ever thought you could love a fictional character, so much you’ll want to protect him and all his preciousness–his passion for drawing comics, his ability to love despite everything, and his fight. Finally, someone has given this part of the country the respect its beautiful lands and people deserve. Kingsolver tells the story of their long exploitation, and she tells it not with condescension or derision, but with much-needed care. This is the best novel of 2022, and no other books even come close.— Karen
November 2022 Indie Next List
“Come for Kingsolver’s classic mastery of language and descriptions that leave you overwhelmed in the most soulful way. Stay for a heart-wrenching and compassionate story of survival that will go down as one of her best works of all time.”
— Libby Monaghan, Twice Told Tales, McPherson, KS
Kingsolver is a writer who can help us understand and navigate the chaos of these times. --Minneapolis Star Tribune
From the New York Times bestselling author of Unsheltered and Flight Behavior, a brilliant novel which enthralls, compels, and captures the heart as it evokes a young hero's unforgettable journey to maturity.
Anyone will tell you the born of this world are marked from the get-out, win or lose.
Demon Copperhead is set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. It's the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father's good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.
Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens' anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can't imagine leaving behind.