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The Hum and the Shiver: A Novel of the Tufa (Tufa Novels) Paperback – September 27, 2011
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“Imagine a book somewhere between American Gods and Faulkner. In brief: a good book. Absolutely worth your time.” ―Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author
“As raw and bewitching as the music and magic that fuel it. I loved this book for many reasons--the bone-deep mystery, the setting, the music, and the harsh beauty of its characters. It gives a new meaning to well played.” ―Rachel Caine, New York Times bestselling author
“Haunting . . . A rustic version of ‘urban fantasy,' with its suggestion that there's mystery just around the corner, hidden behind even the dullest small-town facade.” ―Wall Street Journal
“With a deep love for the mountains embedded in his language, Bledsoe crafts a deceptively simple story of family and community, laced throughout with the music and beliefs of a magical reality. Elegantly told.” ―Library Journal, starred review
“This powerful, character-driven drama, set forth in superbly lucid prose, occurs against an utterly convincing backdrop and owns complications enough to keep everyone compulsively turning the pages. A sheer delight.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Bledsoe's rich, nearly poetic prose . . . captured me at page one and didn't let me go to the end. If you are a fan of urban fantasy, this is a book you need to add to your list today. There are secrets ancient and wild waiting for you to discover, and I enjoyed every minute.” ―Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Bledsoe turns standard urban fantasy tropes on their head. . . . The slowly unfolding mystery of the Tufa is a fascinating and absorbing masterpiece of world-building.” ―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
ALEX BLEDSOE is the critically-acclaimed author of the Tufa novels The Hum and the Shiver, Wisp of a Thing, Long Black Curl, Chapel of Ease, and Gather Her Round as well as the Eddie LaCrosse series: The Sword-Edged Blonde, Dark Jenny, Burn Me Deadly, and He Drank, and Saw the Spider
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Much of the plot of The Hum and the Shiver revolves around the fact that Bronwyn is a Tufa. Her family and the majority of her neighbors are also Tufa. In some ways, this is a very good thing for Bronwyn. But in other ways, it presents her with difficult choices.
The Tufa are a mysterious group of people living mostly in the mountains of East Tennessee. There are all kinds of rumors and theories trying to explain what they are. They might be descendants of the Tuatha, the original fairy folk from England and Ireland. Or they might not. Otherwise, they are just like regular people. They have regular jobs, they eat at Shoney’s, some of them drink and do drugs and drive too fast. They seem to have their own magic. But much of their magic comes in the form of songs.
This would be the place to mention the lyrical writing in this book. Literally lyrical, since it includes the lyrics to several of their songs, as well as several more mundane songs. The story was a gripping read from start to finish.
In fact, records state that they were already there when the first European colonists began pushing their way west. (<------how cool is that?)
Yes, the Tufa are born in their valley, grow up to have children of their own in their valley, live and die in their valley . . . play their songs in their valley . . . and that is the way it has always been.
With few exceptions.
Bronwyn Hyatt is one such exception. She left, joining the army when she was 18, to get out of the Tufa valley. To get away from the wild boy who became a reckless man. To prove to herself that she could do what she wanted, be who she wanted, be what she wanted.
Two years later she find herself returning to the home she fled as a war hero. A horribly wounded war hero with no recollection of her heroic deeds, but as far as her country and her government are concerned, a war hero nevertheless.
To her family and the Tufa . . . she is as she ever was.
What follows is Bronwyn's journey to find her place among her people.
I was captivated by that journey.
I was transported back to my childhood in rural Middle Tennessee, where I had known these people. Been friends with some of them, knew something was wrong with others, and was constantly surrounded by them b/c they were my family and my neighbors, my teachers and my schoolmates . . .
I would never go back to that world.
But the good was good enough to make it worth the visit.
THE HUM AND THE SHIVER encapsulates the rural South better than anything else I've read. Be warned: parts are hideous. This is not the genteel South. There are no beautiful, ramshackle old plantation homes. There are no eloquent and wise matriarchs sitting on their front porch, drinking lemonade and quilting. There are no Sunday afternoon picnics under centuries-old oak trees.
This is the South at the end of the dirt road. This is the South at the backend of civilization. This is South where ignorance and bigotry still flourish.
Stupidity isn't contagious and some people have never fallen prey to such ridiculous ideologies.
And ultimately it's those people that this book is about. With a supernatural twist: where did these Tufa come from anyway?
Read it and find out. Highly recommended.
I hate to say it but if you didn't like this one you are either spiritually dead or from a culture so alien to the one he describes that you never will get it.
This first book in the Tufa series is the story of Browyn Hyatt, a rebellious girl searching to define herself in a world that wants to impose all its own ideas of whom she should be. When she comes home from Iraq as a wounded war hero, she finds all those same battles she ran away from waiting on her, but she has returned as a woman ready to face them and to accept the role fate has prepared her for but on her terms, and since she has a backbone of steel, fate bends to her.
I am in love with the way that Bledsoe so seamlessly blends the blends the mythology of the Sidhe into his Tufa hidden in the mountains and valleys of East Tennessee. You'll find no cliches or fairy dust here, but if the music burns in your blood pick this up and ride the night wind.
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The writing is simple with depth., just as the subjects he writes about. Bravo.