To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
5.0 out of 5 starsTouching story of a suffering family and rural privation.
Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2018
This was a life-changing book for me. What a powerful author, amazing use of language and character development. It helped that I grew up a few miles from this little town with its coal mine, but that was not by any means the book's only appeal.
I would like to let everyone reading know that I have no intention of putting down this book or the author in a negative way. My intention is to simply communicate to people about how I, one individual of many who have bought and read this book, feel about it--in hopes that it will help them decide whether or not they want to purchase it.
This book is without a doubt very intriguing. From the start it presents to you a view of a world that very little people reading it would have known. Early on it establishes strong roots and a solid foundation. It's also quite a page-turner. The writing is fluid, and the story is strong.
Despite being overall a good book, the basic structure of the story did seem awfully tried and tested. It didn't feel like anything especially unique or new. Which is not necessarily a bad thing--the author used a structure that has been tried and tested throughout the years to make many classic novels, and though sometimes it can seem a bit too familiar, it does very well work with the story.
Climbing into the mind of the character, throughout different ages is definitely fun and interesting--but it seemed like the general atmosphere of the book was a bit dry, and lacking a good bed of water. I always felt like a needed a hardy meal after reading a book bit of it.
Overall, this was a very good and satisfying read. The author has lots of artistic opportunity, and room to grow. I'm looking foreward to reading more.
Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2013
Great story line of death, untold secret and hard life in a coal mine in northern California in the late 1800's. Historical detail is fascinating. - not just California in the 1880's, but of a actual coal mine.His lyrical writing quickly draws you into the story.
I learned so much about the history of coal mining and the Welsh immigrant experience. The perspective of a young boy brought an objective innocence free of analysis or judgement. The story was compelling and the theme of death as a natural part of life and how we relate to that was interesting to consider along with the superstition versus rational knowledge of science theme.
This is a very sad and depressing book about the Black Diamond mine operation in Contra Costa county in the late 1800's and the people who lived and worked there. I read it because I live nearby and was curious about the history of this area. The book is written in an antiquated prose which is sometimes difficult to understand. Life was very hard for coal miners and children were not children very long, often having to work in the mines at age 7 or so. I was left with a profound sadness after reading this book.
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2004
The early buzz on this debut novel serves up terms like: "poetic intensity"; "strikingly beautiful prose style"; "unerring instinct for storytelling"; "a startling accomplishment"; and "lushly talented". I will state emphatically that Mr. Cunningham's first novel is all that and much more. This is a literary novel in the finest sense of the word, magnetic and seductive from first word to last.
Asher Witherow's story is told in first person. Young Asher is the only child of Welsh immigrants. His mother, Abicca, is strong, matriarchal. Father David works in the Black Diamond Mines circa the 1860s. Life is harsh and sometimes cruel for folks living in the dreary confines of the Contra Costa County California mining country. Miners work long hours below ground and their children join them at a very young age. Young Asher is no exception. He's a bright boy, curious and irrepressible. Death is witnessed at every turn, and stoically accepted as a necessary part of life in hard times. Asher's outlook is influenced by a young ministerial apprentice, Josiah Lyte, who wishes for the boy a better life. Friends Thomas Motion and Anna Flood bring life-changing influences to Asher's world. Present throughout is a strong sense of time and place, beautifully expressed.
The elderly Asher recounts his life in retrospect. His own words state best what life has been. "...I know the great black hole won't receive me till I've tied my guts into sailor's knots over regrets and dreams and other torments I'm helpless to alter."
It's impossible to adequately review such excellence. I've given you the bare essence of The Green Age of Asher Witherow. Readers who appreciate fine literary fiction or the classics simply must read this book. Those who enjoy American history and well written tales will find it exemplary. This is a book to be savored, written by a gifted wordsmith. It has my highest recommendation.