Monday, April 25, 2011

Kings of the Earth

by Jon Clinch

Hmmm. It's hard for me to identify my response to this story. It took me several days to finish reading and I can't exactly explain why. It is not a difficult read, but it does take some concentration because of the constantly shifting time line and the variety of perspectives and voices. And while Kings of the Earth was a straightforward tale, I couldn't seem to connect with or care about the characters (and there are so many of them)! I found it easy to set the book down and not really anxious to pick it back up again.

This book is based on the Ward brothers of New York, three extremely eccentric and backward rural men. When one of the brothers dies, a police investigation and interrogation lead to another of the brother's being accused of his murder. Sadly, these guys don't understand what is happening to them. Although this would seem like a good story plot, it somehow doesn't materialize in this book.

Clinch does a very good job portraying these reclusive brothers, their family and neighbors, and their unconventional lives from childhood through adulthood. I guess all the hopping around didn't lend to a very cohesive book. Since I don't like giving spoilers, I'll just say that after all the work to get to the end, it comes fast and leaves so many loose ends.

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