What a wonderful story this is. It was easy to get caught up in this read: The prose is lovely, the plot moves quickly, and characters are living, breathing, three dimensional beings. All of the characters are challenged by change, both the changes they seek out for themselves (for better and for worse), and the changes that they have thrust upon them. To tell you what those changes are would be to spoil the surprises of the story. Buy Southernmost, read it, and find out for yourself!
I'm a long-time fan of Silas House, and this book stands out to me. I've lived in Appalachia all my life, much of it in West Virginia, and I know the kinds of places and people that House writes about. In his previous novels, much of the story takes place in Appalachia, and that's perfectly fine: reading House's vivid and evocative descriptions of Appalachia, even tight hollers and small towns feel like entire worlds that the reader is priveleged to inhabit. But the world of Southernmost feels larger still. Here, Silas takes us from Appalachia to Florida and back again, and we get to spend much of our time in Key West. This out-and-back journey gives readers a different perspective on Appalachia than we would have if we'd spent the whole novel in the country. On the one hand, the characters find (sometimes to their surprise!) that many of their struggles are ones they share in common--troubles affecting Floridians and Appalachians alike. Their shared experiences efface the trivial differences in language, dialect, or culture: Appalachia, House reminds us, doesn't stand aloof from the rest of the country. On the other hand, by leading us out of Appalachia and back again, House is able to underscore the differences between the more conservative (and sometimes outmoded and hidebound) values of the people of Appalachia and the more open and forward-thinking values found in Key West. Finally, the journey finds a rich parralel in the minds and hearts of the characters: Just as we eventually must make our way home after a long jounrey, so a person must, having undergone some radical change in their thinking or worldview, find a way to incorporate these consequential changes into their work-a-day lives. And when our new ways of living and thinking clash with the same-as-always world around us (when we change but our surroundings don't), conflict is inevitable. It is precisely this kind of conflict that drives the story, and keeps the pages turning.
- Audio CD
- Publisher: HighBridge Audio; Unabridged edition (26 June 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 168441184X
- ISBN-13: 978-1684411849
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 13.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 136 g
- Customer Reviews: 94 customer ratings