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Neverhome: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

So much more than the tale of a woman dressing as a man to fight in the Civil War, Neverhome is an exploration of how we escape when “home” is a place haunted by the heart-breaking past—and what brings us back again. It’s at once grizzly and touching. Constance/Ash is a loving wife, a strong farmer, a steady solider, a sharpshooter, still stuck in the grief of her mother’s long-ago death. Her story is masterfully-narrated in the authentic voice of a Civil War-era farmer, but never heavy-handed. Constance’s descriptions of the horrors she sees are somehow matter-of-fact and powerfully poetic, as Hunt occasionally slips into the dream-like world of memory, emotion, and trauma. Hunt's storytelling is absorbing and unique.

— Julia

Laird Hunt brings the Civil War to life in a new and surprising way through the tale of Ash Thomas, a farm wife who disguises herself as a man to join the Union fight, and through her voice, which is at once deeply intimate and lyrically distrustful. Told at times like a hushed confessional, others like a myth in the making, Neverhome is a beautiful novel that explores the great violations of war and the quiet terrors of home, and is equally devastating in all its many truths.

— Melinda

Neverhome left me in a twister of awe, heartbreak, and gratitude. This beautiful novel of a woman fighting in disguise during the Civil War deserves a huge following - I can't imagine a reader who won't be irrevocably hooked.

— Kat

I picked this book up on a whim, read it cover-to-cover in only a couple sittings, and wow! I still think about it to this day, except instead of remembering it as a book, I have vivid memories of having lived the life of Ash Thompson who left behind her husband and life on the farm to fight in the Civil War. Neverhome is the espresso shot of books: come and gone in flash with a lingering buzz that lasts for hours (or in this case, months) on end.

— Andrés

September 2014 Indie Next List

“Leaving her beloved husband behind to tend their Indiana farm, Constance Thompson binds her breasts and dons men's clothing to become Ash, nicknamed 'Gallant Ash' by her fellow Union soldiers. With spare, poetic, transcendent prose, Hunt portrays the horror of the Civil War and the fallout from the trauma experienced by soldiers, their families, and the country at large. Ash is a fascinating and enigmatic character, keeping secrets from everyone she encounters and keeping the reader enthralled as her shocking story unfolds. Neverhome will surely join the ranks of the brilliant novels not just of the Civil War, but of war writ large.”
— Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO


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 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 The Evening Road. His previous novel, Neverhome, was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice selection, an IndieNext selection, winner of the Grand Prix de Litterature Americaine and The Bridge prize, and a finalist for the Prix Femina Etranger. A resident of Boulder, CO, he is on the faculty in the creative writing PhD program at the University of Denver.

Praise For…

"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

"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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316370134
ISBN-10: 0316370134
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Pages: 256
Language: English
ABA Admin Product Details
Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 3/7/2014 08:25am
Last Updated At: 6/15/2020 10:02am