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The Book of Ash: A Novel Paperback – October 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Boxfire Press (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938191048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938191046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John A. McCaffrey grew up in Rochester, New York, graduated from the City College of New York in creative writing, and currently lives in Hoboken, NJ.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
It's a very well-crafted jewel.
burt weissbourd
The principal doctrine of the “Circle” is a work entitled The Book of Ash, with its numbered “Encouragements” as didactic as any of the Ten Commandments.
Tim Bridwell
McCaffrey is a talented and very comfortable writer.
Scotty Rockha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Light on October 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The futuristic world in McCaffrey's Book of Ash is eerily believable. It's a future that isn't farfetched, and that definitely sparked both worry and hope in me as I read. Often, writers create a brighter world to look forward to. McCaffrey cuts straight to the bone. The future isn't necessarily better or worse--just different, darker, and (yes) funnier.

It's McCaffrey's deft ability to address both distressing situations, relationships, and the raw humor of being a human that makes his work so powerful. He turns the concept of emotions into commodities, items dealt as products. Anger, like anniversaries, is only "celebrated" once a year. And then it is cashed in for full payment.

I recommend Book of Ash to anyone who enjoys an engaging, well-paced novel that sparkles with both action, emotion, and humanity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim Bridwell on February 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The dystopian vision of John McCaffrey’s The Book of Ash menaces well, without the need of a single surveillance camera, patrol robot or jackbooted thug: a mere “Encouragement” suffices. Paralleling our own society’s obsession with “self-help” movements- those coercing us to be the best we can be- the author spins a striking allegory, full of humor and humanism, relentlessly pondering the feasibility of true love.

The protagonist, Baldwin Wallace, works as a “miracle counselor” in a commune known as the “Circle,” an atavistic, post-apocalyptic community, set among the silos, sickles, and fallow “rust fields” of a failed agrarian society. It is a world where electricity, motor vehicles, and guns are all conspicuously absent. Here time is told by the strike of the sunrise, sunset, and moonrise “gongs”; longer periods are defined by agriculture cycles, such as sowing or growing seasons. Ironically, it was their environmental good intention that left crops overwatered and over-fertilized; in a similar fashion, the general population has been rendered jaded, complaisant, and utterly ineffectual.

Semantically mad, this society frowns upon direct discourse; nothing is to be asked for or demanded of, but instead “encouraged.” Citizens are not expected to be responsible for their own guidance, as there are counselors for any situation they might encounter: conflict, life, miracle, touch, conception, color, flight, vertical, nutrition, counting, waste… even a “nightshade counselor,” who tends over plants that grow only in darkness. The principal doctrine of the “Circle” is a work entitled The Book of Ash, with its numbered “Encouragements” as didactic as any of the Ten Commandments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark on October 25, 2013
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The Book of Ash creates a world that is both endearing and menacing, farcical yet deadly serious, wholly invented and yet strangely familiar. It's a world filled with fascinating characters and imaginative details that had me laughing out loud, and the plot is full of unanticipated turns that make the book hard to put down. What's special about it is that it is thought provoking without being self-important. It's a really enjoyable read that makes you think - about relationships, the structure of our society, ethics and passions- but does so from a place of humor, warmth and wonderful storytelling. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kernan on October 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Book of Ash was a great ride. John McCaffrey has quite an expansive imagination. Looking forward to the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zingo! on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An unexpected treasure! What a great imagination....The Day of No Consequence, rustballs, chits, utilities....

I would change party allegiances in a second if a presidential candidate would support a Day of No Consequence here for us now- how much fun!

I'm very impressed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Moshe Ratson on October 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Book of Ash is a great page-turner. It's thrilling and funny and altogether unique. McCaffrey has scored a slam-dunk with this debut novel. I highly recommend people give it a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scotty Rockha on October 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
Funny, smart and entertaining! What more could you ask for? McCaffrey is a talented and very comfortable writer. Give it a read! I can't wait to see what he does next.
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By Erik N. Raschke on November 29, 2013
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John MacCaffrey’s The Book of Ash is an original and quirky narrative through a neurotic and nervous dystopia. Resembling Woody Allen and 1984’s Winston Smith, Baldwin Wallace decides to change his life and fumbles through the consequences. While his world feels only inches away from ours, and therein lays the discomfort, it is the mundane, the conversations, debates, and discussions which make this novel feel so different. The evil here isn’t in some omnipresent government or overlord, but in the character’s daily concerns and worries. As MacCaffrey writes subtly, yet in a pitch-perfect tone: “He (Wallace) accepted the anxiety as he accepted every unwelcome thing in his life: with solace, some sulking, and a voiceless, simmering, anger.” MacCaffrey has taken the cold, detachment of the dystopian novel and given it a warm, sympathetic personality. Perhaps it is better to see the future through the more intimate details instead of through an oppressive superstructure. Who and why your wife cheats on you with, in the future, can be just as dark and disconcerting as any Big Brother.
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More About the Author

John McCaffrey attended Villanova University, and received his M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York. His stories, essays and book reviews have appeared in numerous literary journals, magazines and newspapers. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his story Words, first published in Fiction Magazine, was also selected for Flash Fiction Forward, an anthology containing work from some of the most noted writers of our time, including Grace Paley, Dave Eggers, and Paul Theroux.

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The Book of Ash: A Novel
This item: The Book of Ash: A Novel
Price: $17.99 $12.52
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