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Witches on the Road Tonight Paperback – January 10, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a rare writer who can pull us effortlessly across time and character and geography with the conjuring power that Holman demonstrates here. From a dogtrot cabin in Appalachia on the eve of the second world war to 1980s suburbs still scented with a rural perfume to post-Apocalyptic corners of contemporary New York, there is no false note. This is a dark family epic in which fear must be mastered and never quite can be.
Holman is an enchantress, whose knack for detail and narrative power will transport you. Witches on the Road Tonight is disturbing and enthralling and worth the deep and diligent reading that its careful conjuring on the page invites.
Her witches do not take center stage; instead they lurk. I wondered about all sorts of powers that humans may imagine they have; religion makes an occasional appearance.
Questions such as where we choose to live, how we die, what we hide from ourselves, and the evidence of gratitude bubble up in the intertwined stories, tightly woven and exquisitely written. I think Holman's use of succinct words and striking metaphors, along with compelling characters and vivid sense of place, keep the story alive and moving. Like Dress Lodger, Witches will remain in my memory. Sheri Holman has honed her storytelling skills!
From this point on, author Holman does some shifting of her own, alternating times, places, and perspectives among her three principal characters. Tucker stays longer in the mountains than anticipated, and Eddie grows up to become a cult figure, "Captain Casket" on a nightly TV horror show. His daughter, Wallis, seems to have inherited her grandmother's penchant for the mystical, and she experiments with her powers on Jasper, the homeless teen taken in by her family.
Witches is written in thoughtful, sometimes lyrical prose, and the passages set in the Appalachians are particularly evocative and eerie. While it does have its otherworldly elements, the overriding theme deals with human fears and desires. As Eddie describes them, "There is the fear of failure and nuclear annihilation and snakes, of getting up in the morning, and then, of course, there is the fear of the dark, which is, as they all are, the fear of Death, which we dare not examine too closely while in life, lest it ruin all the more pleasurable fears of living and loving.Read more ›
Some writers are a "brand" which is to say you know exactly what you're going to get when you pick up one of their books. So not so with Holman; you don't even know what time frame you might be inhabiting: the 15th century of "A Stolen Tongue," the 19th century of "The Dress Lodger" or the 20th century of "The Mammoth Cheese." Another Holman hallmark: her books invariably sport unusual titles.
I cannot fathom why there has been little buzz around this new novel. So far. Maybe I'm too eager and missed the opening reviews. The PW and Booklist reviews here on Amazon don't reflect the book I read and they're good reviews overall but lack the excitement of readerly greed satisfied so richly and rarely.
"Witches on the Road Tonight" is hallelujah-finest-kind. I had to rise early on a Saturday morning expressly to read the last 50 pages.
Why was I mesmerized (eponym alert)? Holman specializes in story telling and in this book she exceeds the bar. At the same time, the writing, language, depictions, evocations, great heart put flesh on her story and I don't mean it to sound muscular because the result delivers distilled but non-fussy elegance uncommon in a very good story. The WPA element doesn't hurt, either. (Yes, we're in the 20th century again but roaming about some.) Tired Appalachia here is fulsomely rendered -- luscious, gorgeous and time-out-of-mind dangerous.
I expect I've found the book I'll be evangelizing this year.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a reader and a lover of language, and Ms. Holman knocked me flat with "The Dress Lodger." Her portrayal of people as well as her subtle way of telling the story was... Read morePublished 4 months ago by VA
Wow! I was enthralled from the first page to the last. Dripping in fantastical, descriptive language you are pulled in to the story. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Bonnie Cantrell
Bogged down by too much description and irrelevant observations from author's POV....Two stars for an interesting premise, just not my cup of tea.Published 18 months ago by Jennifer Aubry
"Witches on the Road Tonight" is Ms. Holman's best and most heartfelt book to date -- to my mind among the most accomplished novels of recent times, astute in its vision and as... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Chris C. Hill
This is a superb bit of writing. The characters are real, the landscapes are haunting and Ms. Holman weaves a gripping tale. Highly recommended.Published 19 months ago by S. O'Toole
I got this as a gift for my mom and it came in excellent, brand-new condition.Published 19 months ago by Emily Dohse
This was a good read. Overlapping story lines and time jumps made it a bit challenging at times but I stayed with it (I don't always -- too much good stuff to read). Read morePublished 21 months ago by Raven in a Dryer