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Auraria: A Novel Paperback – March 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: QW Publishers (March 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984974806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984974801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred review. This baroque alternate history reimagines the town where America’s first gold rush started, weaving tall tales and legends, Carrollian surrealism, and a fascinating cast of characters into a genuinely inventive novel that reads like steampunk via Mark Twain. Auraria, Ga., was the site of a gold strike that presaged the California gold rush by 20 years and was the original cause of the Cherokees’ forced exodus along the Trail of Tears. Westover describes it as a town of spirits and portents, populated by piano-playing ghosts, potatoes that bite back with “starchy fangs,” and snowball hens that lay ice cream eggs. The valley proves more than a match for the speculator Shadburn and his lieutenant, Holtzclaw, whose plan to create a lakefront resort falls victim to the lust for gold. Meanwhile, Cherokee princess Trahlyta is determined to rid her domain of the alluring but useless metal. Fact and fancy are intertwined cleverly and seamlessly in a top-notch, thoroughly American fantasy.

Review

"Fact and fancy are intertwined cleverly and seamlessly in a top-notch, thoroughly American fantasy." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Envision Lewis Carroll on a romp through the mountains of Georgia, discovering a land of shimmery mystery and spirits, humble monsters, quirky characters, singing trees and vengeful fish. The best part is that Tim Westover can really write." -Josephine Humphreys, Hemingway/PEN Award Winner, author of Rich in Love

"Mr. Westover brings my beloved Georgia to life, complete with spells, haints, and moon maidens. Not since Wendell Berry has an author woven such a beautifully intricate southern community." -Ann Hite, author of Ghost On Black Mountain


"I loved Auraria, by Tim Westover, who based much of his mythos on southern Appalachian folklore. This story romps across those rugged mountains and splashes gleefully into springs flecked with gold. Westover presents us with a delightfully imaginative world, where trees sing and fish swim in the mist. His fluid, humorous style draws us right into that magical place. Highly recommended." -Jo Ann Butler, Historical Novel Society


"When we decided to allow independent books in the Battle of the Books, it was with the hope that perhaps somewhere along the line we would find a hidden gem about which we could help spread the word. Auraria is it. Tim Westover writes at a professional level, and his quirky tale about a strange mining town where magic hides in plain sight is wonderfully fresh and original." -Aaron Hughes, Fantastic Reviews

Customer Reviews

She is just a really cool and very well written character.
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a fun and good read or people who want to start reading more fiction tales based off of real places.
Anh
Almost too many things occurred and it obscures the intent,d if there is one, to the story.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lyn Meadows on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
For the longest time, I honestly didn't know how I felt about Auraria: A Novel. To say the least, it was not what I expected...but that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. Tim Westover tells an interesting story that is part fantasy, part history, part folklore, and part fairy tale. I am happy to say that he blends all of those genres successfully. The story takes place in Auraria, Georgia and is steeped in local folklore, which was both a blessing and a curse for me. I think that I would have enjoyed it a bit more if I was more familiar with the folklore that was the basis for the story. On the other hand, I love folklore and this book inspired me to do a little more research on the folklore and history of this area of Georgia. I also love quirky and weird characters, and this book was loaded with people who would fit that bill. As I read, I was continually reminded of the writing of Washington Irving. Both The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle come instantly to mind. As all good examples of fairy tales, folklore and local legend do, this story also had a lesson to teach. Often the lesson is not immediately apparent, as is the case here. I thought the author did a great job of wrapping his message in an interesting story, filled with characters that a reader would enjoy reading about, and finished off with an ending that was as satisfying as it was appropriate.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By K. Sozaeva VINE VOICE on August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Book Info: Genre: Magical Realism Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free eGalley eBook edition of this text from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis: Water spirits, moon maidens, haunted pianos, headless revenants, and an invincible terrapin that lives under the mountains. None of these distract James Holtzclaw from his employer's mission: to turn the fading gold-rush town of Auraria, GA, into a first-class resort and drown its fortunes below a man-made lake. But when Auraria's peculiar people and problematic ghosts collide with his own rival ambitions, Holtzclaw must decide what he will save and what will be washed away.

Taking its inspiration from a real Georgia ghost town, "Auraria: is steeped in the folklore of the Southern Appalachians, where the tensions of natural, supernatural and artificial are still alive.

My Thoughts: I live in Georgia, but haven't really been into the north Georgia mountains. I was charmed by the fantastic happenings that Holtzclaw experiences in and around the community of Auraria. I've become interested in learning more about the lore and legends of this area as a result of reading this book. Since I have absolutely no knowledge, I can't comment on whether the creatures and ghosts used in the book are based upon real legends and lore, but the legends and such he uses/creates for this book are very fun.

I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite among the many characters - living, dead, and supernatural - that people this excellent story.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eneasz M. Brodski on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. And I will say that the prose is beautiful. Excellently crafted; the imagery is extremely evocative. The sense of place is palpable, every page immerses one deeply into the old south. The writing is witty and charming. But… nothing happens. I like for things to happen in my books, and this wasn’t that sort of book. No one grows, there’s no excitement, nothing changes very much. It’s hard to care about any of the characters. This didn’t deter several of our book club members, who still enjoyed it anyway, but I was bored to tears and had to struggle to get through it. If you listen to Welcome to Night Vale you are familiar with this type of story. Neat quirky things happen, the end. It’s perfect and very entertaining in 20 minute doses every two weeks. To have to plow through 400 pages of that non-stop is awful. It goes from being enjoyable to boring to downright annoying. I feel that this would have worked better as a collection of shorts.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. Sparks on July 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
They say "don't judge a book by its cover," and sometimes I agree with that and sometimes I don't. In the case of Auraria, however, I'm begging you to not judge it by the cover. When I was first asked to review Tim Westover's latest, I was left a little flat by its nondescript gray tones, and I couldn't imagine what this book was supposed to be about. But the story caught me completely off guard, and I'm here to tell you Auraria is a book worth reading, and I am recommending it without hesitation.

Filled with folktales and magical imagery, Auraria is the tale of two men, Shadburn and Holtzclaw, who try to turn the small, mountainous town of Auraria, Georgia into a world-class vacation resort. The first sentence of the book sets the tone for what's to come:

"Holtzclaw hadn't heard of Auraria until his employer sent him to destroy it."

Holtzclaw is given the task of buying up all the land parcels in Auraria so that his employer Shadburn can launch his plan. But when he arrives and starts getting to know the townsfolk, he discovers a wild and unpredictable place full of ghosts, singing trees, and moon maidens that bathe in the springs of Auraria in order to wash the gold off their skin. At first Holtzclaw is skeptical of the piano-playing ghosts and fish that jump out of the mist, but the longer he stays in Auraria, the more he becomes enchanted by the magical forces at play. Most of the land owners he approaches sell their property willingly enough after seeing the pile of money and gold coins Holtzclaw pulls out of his bag, and before long Shadburn joins Holtzclaw in Auraria to begin putting his plan into action: building a huge dam to stop the waters that flow throughout the town to create an immense lake, which will literally bury Auraria underwater.
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More About the Author

Tim Westover, a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Georgia, lives in suburban Atlanta. Born in the north, educated in England, and frequent visitor to Russia, he found his home in the North Georgia mountains.

In addition to writing, Westover enjoys programming, playing the clawhammer banjo, and raising his three-year-old daughter to be a modern American eccentric.

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