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Ohio  By  cover art

Ohio

By: Stephen Markley
Narrated by: Caitlin Davies, Jayme Mattler, Joy Osmanski, Jonathan Todd Ross, Corey Brill, Gibson Frazier
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Publisher's summary

The debut of a major talent, a lyrical and emotional novel set in an archetypal small town in northeastern Ohio - a region ravaged by the Great Recession, an opioid crisis, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - depicting one feverish, fateful summer night in 2013 when four former classmates converge on their hometown, each with a mission, all haunted by the ghosts of their shared histories.

Since the turn of the century, a generation has come of age knowing only war, recession, political gridlock, racial hostility, and a simmering fear of environmental calamity. In the country’s forgotten pockets, where industry long ago fled, where foreclosures, Walmarts, and opiates riddle the land, death rates for rural whites have skyrocketed, fueled by suicide, addiction, and a rampant sense of marginalization and disillusionment. This is the world the characters in Stephen Markley’s brilliant debut novel, Ohio, inherit. This is New Canaan.

On one fateful summer night in 2013, four former classmates converge on the rust belt town where they grew up, each of them with a mission, all of them haunted by regrets, secrets, lost loves. There’s Bill Ashcraft, an alcoholic, drug-abusing activist whose fruitless ambitions have taken him from Cambodia to Zuccotti Park to New Orleans, and now back to “The Cane” with a mysterious package strapped to the underside of his truck; Stacey Moore, a doctoral candidate reluctantly confronting the mother of her former lover; Dan Eaton, a shy veteran of three tours in Iraq, home for a dinner date with the high school sweetheart he’s tried to forget; and the beautiful, fragile Tina Ross, whose rendezvous with the captain of the football team triggers the novel’s shocking climax.

At once a murder mystery and a social critique, Ohio ingeniously captures the fractured zeitgeist of a nation through the viewfinder of an embattled Midwestern town and offers a prescient vision for America at the dawn of a turbulent new age.

©2018 Stephen Markley (P)2018 Simon & Schuster Audio

Editorial Review

A powerful and timely debut

Told from the perspective of four former classmates who return home after the untimely death of a friend in Iraq, Ohio is an ambitious debut novel that takes the listener deep into the Rust Belt—to the kind of place where the American dream seemed to have been born, but after factory closures and broken promises is now out of reach. As the four narratives intertwine, author Stepen Markley pulls no punches when revealing timely issues of opioid addiction, resentment, and economic strife in a post-9/11 US. The story is as relentless as it is valuable for a listener like me who could stand to peek behind the curtain of lives far different from my own. These characters’ stories are ones I won’t soon forget. —Catherine H., Audible Editor

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