- File Size: 1091 KB
- Print Length: 265 pages
- Publisher: Skyhorse (March 20, 2018)
- Publication Date: March 20, 2018
- Sold by: Simon & Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B073G4GF43
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,059 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Past Is Never: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 265 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Finalist for the 2019 Colorado Book Awards for Literary Fiction
“Haunting and beautiful, steeped in history and myth, The Past is Never unwinds the darkest knots of what binds families together and reveals the marvels and monsters which lie within us all. In lucid, piercing prose, Tiffany Quay Tyson pushes to the raw edge of life, where the real and the unreal almost touch. This is great southern fiction.” —Kent Wascom, award-winning author of The Blood of Heaven and Secessia
“You hold in your hands Stranger Things but with a satisfying ending. In the sort of cleanly tuned prose that makes another fiction writer happy, Tyson penetrates your imagination with characters and places so real they feel like your own suppressed memories. I'll never look at the Everglades the same way again.” —Carrie La Seur, award-winning author of The Home Place
“Wise, disturbing, and quietly powerful, The Past Is Never is an American novel for our time. With rare and unflinching honesty, Tyson shows us the darkness, then reaches into it and extracts light. The discovery is breathtaking.” —Margo Catts, author of Among the Lesser Gods
“Tiffany Quay Tyson has written a gripping novel steeped in the Southern gothic tradition, with a compelling mix of contemporary grit. Dark as the quarry that spooks a Mississippi town and twisty as the Florida mangrove tunnels traversed in search of answers to unraveling family mysteries, The Past is Never had me turning pages long into the night.” —Kelly J. Ford, author of Cottonmouths
“Tyson writes characters so distinct you'll swear you can hear their footsteps outside your reading room, and does so in prose so elegant you have to remember to breathe. The Past Is Never is a beautiful, moving, brilliant novel.” —Benjamin Whitmer, author of Cry Father and Pike
“Creatures, real and imagined, fact and fable, inhabit Tiffany Quay Tyson’s South, a place stranger than life and all too real. The Past Is Never will alter your vision, make you see anew things you thought you already knew. It’s a flash of lightning in a summer storm.” —William Haywood Henderson, author of Augusta Locke
“A sumptuously written novel.” —Theresa Alan, New York Times bestselling author
“Tyson offers an intriguing exploration of family and identity alongside the complexities and emotions of life's haunting regrets.” —Booklist
“An ode to William Faulkner. . . . As Southern as it gets.” —Deep South Magazine
“Mesmerizing Southern Gothic. . . . The author's skillful storytelling reaches a high mark with this novel. Nothing is as it first appears in this dark, complex story that draws upon inner strength, extended family ties and personal determination. As with her first novel, Tyson has an award winner on her hands.” —The Clarion-Ledger
“Haunting, mysterious, and at times very disturbing, The Past is Never is an extraordinary example of Southern Gothic literature . . . one that is certain to keep you up long into the night.” —The Literary South
“Tyson's rich prose turns the Everglades into another world, distinct from Mississippi but just as mysterious.” —The Florida Book Review
“A notable contribution to Southern gothic fiction. . . . Tyson's stylistic writing and unique voice bring the reader into the heart of the Mississippi Delta and create an eerie atmosphere similar to that of William Faulkner's Sanctuary and William Gay's Twilight.” —New Orleans Review of Books
“Flannery O’Connor fans will enjoy The Past is Never by Tiffany Quay Tyson, a satisfying addition to contemporary Southern Gothic fiction.” —The Augusta Chronicle
“Tyson has proven to be a forerunner in the Southern Gothic literary tradition, and a standout in her generation of contemporary southern fiction writers.” —Oxford Citizen
“Tyson’s novel The Past Is Never revels in the line between personal and geographical histories . . . a profound entry point toward the region’s many interconnected caves and deep mysteries.” —Entropy magazine
“The Past is Never reads like a new kind of southern fiction.” —hottoddy.co
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Comparing this book to Faulkner - just because the author used a cheap trick by selecting a Faulkner quote for the book's title - is like comparing a fine Thoroughbred to a country mule. This is not Faulkneresque. It's not Walker Percy-esque. Or Eudora Welty-esque. It's a poser of a book, a book that pretends to be Southern gothic, that teases you with a mystery, then draws out the mystery for pages and pages - long after the plot should actually have gone somewhere - and in the end - SPOILER ALERT - what happened is just what one of the main characters thinks happened all along.
All the malarky about Bubba and the aliens, and Granny Clem and all the women she helps ... it's all BS. It's filler to kill time because the author didn't really have much of a plot. The author could have left out Bubba and the aliens and most of Granny Clem's bit without affecting the story, but again, it was a cheap trick designed to fool you because, really, the author didn't have anything but an obvious solution to the "mystery." So Dad took Pansy. Gee. What we all thought was most likely ended up being the answer.
The book goes back and forth in time, without any warning. Somewhere in the middle of the book you suddenly lurch backward in time. These episodes are handled quite clumsily by the author, are not well done, and they don't add to the mystery. The reader figures out who these people are from the very first, and thereafter the answer to the mystery, about 200 pages before the author gets around to finally revealing what we've already known.
I love a good Southern book. This isn't it. Though it does have a lot of Southern clichés and of course we have to throw in some racism for flavor to make it authentic. I gave it two stars because it's long and the author - I guess - spent time on it, but why this book won a prize is beyond me. The writing is only average; about a third of the book could have been cut out and made for a tighter, better story; and the author never made me care about the characters. Even the narrator is a ditz and a whiner. I had to make myself finish it because I hate paying for something I don't finish. But man, it was hard to keep going.
Avoid this book and read Faulkner instead. I recommend "As I Lay Dying" or "Flags in the Dust." Just for starters.
"The past is never dead. It's not even past." I think Faulkner would approve.
(4 because I had to figure out who was talking or being spoken of - however after the fact I could see/understand all the WHYS!!!)
Top international reviews
When a mystery unlocks secrets from the past the seach for identity generates confusion and despair within the family.
As time goes by everything changes but ultimately hope remains.
The Past Never is a necessary inclusion to the list of great novels in this genre.
It doesn’t work. The narrative skips between first person and third person without adding anything to the plot. Although the premise is interesting - a little girl disappears - once you get halfway through the book you realise no one has actually done anything. They’re living their mundane lives whilst thinking of their missing sister. There’s no reason for the third person narrative with Clem’s story.
The reader doesn’t care about the characters. The reader is not swept into the time and place of the novel. The reader probably just keeps reading to find out what happened to Pansy, but it’s easy not to care.
If you’re too tired to think, can’t be bothered with a decent novel, then grab this while it’s cheap (I got it for $2.95). Otherwise, reread your favourite novel and give this one a miss.