The Englewood Review of Books
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*** Best Novel of 2022!!!
Hardback: Harper, 2022
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It’s a brave writer who takes on a retelling of Dickens, and of David Copperfield, the most personal of his novels, at that. And yet the American author Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead – which transposes this very English, quasi-autobiographical Bildungsroman to her own home territory of Appalachia – feels in many ways like the book she was born to write.
The idealism and concern with social justice that are characteristic of Kingsolver’s worldview find their natural counterpart in Dickens’s impassioned social criticism. … Kingsolver’s hero Damon Fields, known as Demon and nicknamed Copperhead for his red hair, is born to a drug-using teenage single mother in a trailer in Lee County, Virginia. Even in this deprived neighbourhood they stand out by being almost destitute, living between a coal camp “and a settlement people call Right Poor”. Since his mother is in and out of rehab, Demon is partly raised by the sprawling, warm-hearted Peggot clan. It’s all there in Dickens: the weak, infantile mother, ripe for abuse; the dead father and the disciplinarian boyfriend turned merciless stepfather; the bad odds against which no child stands a chance – and also the outsiders, some loving and others less so, who offer only a limited form of help.
- from a review by Elizabeth Lowry
in The Guardian
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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior
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