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The Fallen Snow Paperback – December 19, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
"In a gripping tale of self-exploration and atonement, Kelley's debut skillfully evokes the unpredictability of life in 1918 through mesmerizing descriptions and fully realized characters. Joshua Hunter volunteers to fight in the Great War to escape his rural Virginia home, becoming a respected sniper in wartime France. Unfettered from his close-knit Appalachian community's expectations, he develops a growing quietness and strength despite the ugliness of war. Returning home a crippled war hero, Joshua feels the old familiar expectations becoming more onerous. And even an engagement and job offer cannot erase the past, the echoes of war, and a well-guarded secret. Kelley's novel is emotionally complex and brimming with grit. Told in a plainspoken manner through parallel story lines--the present in Appalachia and the past in France--this story will appeal to readers of coming-of-age stories with a historical bent." -(starred review)
"Kelley's characters are believable . . . human . . . introspective, and when they speak it is from the heart, honestly and without frills." -Clarion Reviews (★★★★★)
"Quiet is an accurate description of how the story unfolds, but the impact of Joshua Hunter's journey is huge. He is a character you will carry in your heart." - Jocosa Wade, Jocosa's Bookshelf
"a timeless and timely novel of the physical and emotional cost of war" -San Francisco Book Review (★★★★★)
"How many of us can genially manage to pretend to be something we're not? This novel offers up that lesson perhaps better than anything I've ever read." -Historical Novel Society
"A universal story that delivers its message that love can never take root inside the head, but in the heart." -Jill Wisoff, Unabridged
"Neither a war novel nor a coming-of-age novel nor a romance novel - it is simply a novel worth reading." -Lisa Jones, 300 Word Book Reviews
Top customer reviews
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Well, the other day, I picked it up and began to read it again and I have to tell you this is a book written to be read twice (at least). Now, the writing is simply excellent (you never notice it -- that's why it's good) and the story is gripping and emotional and, well, beautiful.
The author tells Josh's tale in a now-and-then structure. "Now" is Joshua trying to cope with coming home to the mountains of Virginia from the first World War and "then" are the flash-backs to his time in France during the war. On the second read, Josh's seemingly foolish (and sometimes angering) decisions take on an entirely different cast as you now know why he's making them. What he's struggling with.
Just a beautiful book. Heart-breakingly beautiful. I couldn't recommend it more.
I wait with great anticipation for his next novel.
While this book is historical fiction, Joshua's journey could actually be set in any time period and be just as compelling. And while there is a gay romance in "The Fallen Snow", this is more a human story that anyone should be able to relate to. These two factors speak highly of the authors writing. I will be reading this book many more times knowing I will get something from it each time I read it. Can there be higher praise for any novel?
I loved the deep contrasts in this book- Kelley's parallel story lines paint the two very different worlds of Joshua Hunter.Joshua's known enemies and horrors of his past world war experience are tempered by treasured relationships and memories-and these juxtaposed by the present solitude of small town existence where his battles become more introspective.
Joshua is shown as a deeply caring man, one who loves and protects all those around him- family,friends,town folk, as well as the beleaguered and beloved Appalachian forest region where he grew up. His conflicts arise out of meeting the expectations of those he loves most. It is not until he learns to be true to himself that he can set to rights relationships that are increasingly out of kilter. Particularly compelling was the character of Joshua's mother,Elisabeth- a woman who loves with a quiet dignity and grace, yet demonstrates a straightforwArd truthfulness that speaks volumes to her family.
THE FALLEN SNOW is not merely a coming of age story because it depends on more than the inner reflections of growth and adaptation of its protagonist.Joshua Hunter has more heart than that, he possesses more depth of character. He is an individual who strives to be true to all the relationships he cherishes.This book was a journey I was glad that I took.
This is a beautiful, sensitively written debut novel about family, secrets, and the power of first love.
From Richard Attenborough's Oh, What a Lovely War.
(Tune: 'They wouldn't believe me')
And when they ask us, how dangerous it was,
Oh, we'll never tell them, no, we'll never tell them:
We spent our pay in some cafe,
And fought wild women night and day,
'Twas the cushiest job we ever had.
And when they ask us, and they're certainly going to ask us,
The reason why we didn't win the Croix de Guerre,
Oh, we'll never tell them, oh, we'll never tell them
There was a front, but damned if we knew where