by Barbara Kingsolver
- near fine
- Near Fine/Near Fine
- ISBN 10
- ISBN 13
Carrollton, Texas, United States
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About This Item
White boards with metallic-red writing on spine; publisher's logo embossed on front board. Top and bottom of book spine rumpled; front dust jacket also has "Oprah's Book Club 2022" in blue circle. Top and bottom of dust jacket spine show slight shelf wear; tight binding and pages still look in excellent condition. Cover price of $32.50 and 1022 on front dust jacket fold.
Harper Collins First Edition; First Printing as indicated by "FIRST EDITION" and complete number line ending with "1" on copyright page. This is NOT the Barnes & Noble special edition, but the true U.S. first edition of the novel.
Kingsolver's novel about "a young hero's unforgettable journey to maturity in the mountains of southern Appalachia" that won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Hardcover and original unclipped dust jacket protected by archival Mylar cover.
Demon Copperhead is the ninth novel by award-winning best-selling American author, Barbara Kingsolver. It's in August of his eleventh year that life falls apart for Damon Fields. Despite his inauspicious beginning and life in a double-wide trailer with his single mother, his first ten years are happy ones.
With strong Melungeon features, flame red hair, green eyes and darker skin, inherited from a father who died before he was born, Damon soon acquires the name Copperhead, Demon being the natural warp of his given name. A good student with a talent for drawing, he excels at school and enjoys spending his free time with his best friend, Maggot, grandson of his mother's landlady, Nance Peggot.
The catalyst for change seems to be the arrival into their lives of Murrell Stone, known as Stoner, whom Damon quickly assesses as bad news. That he is a bully, expert in gaslighting, is soon obvious: "Mom took up with a guy that believed in educating with his fists, that bullied and brainwashed her till the day she died."
By the time he arrives in his father's hometown in Tennessee, the now-eleven-year-old has suffered the physical and psychological abuse of his new step-father, lost his pregnant mother, been fostered out into two differently neglectful homes, done hard physical labour, worked an illegal job, missed school to harvest tobacco, been half-starved, and robbed.
From there, the story follows Demon's rollercoaster fortunes in life: patronage from his paternal grandmother, a football coach and an art teacher; recognition of his talents and abilities; injury and drug addiction; the deterioration and loss of people close to him. He proves to be resilient, and eventually learns that not all the people he chooses end up being true friends.
With her reinvented David Copperfield set in modern-day Appalachia, Kingsolver illustrates the potent impact on young lives of the poor choices that people themselves make, or are made by those charged with their care, often when there is, realistically, no choice at all.
When those people in his life who have good intentions but no means are unable to step up, her protagonist ends up at the mercy of people rorting the welfare system for their own gain or merely their survival, under the supposed care of poorly-paid and under-resourced people stuck in a poorly funded and disorganised system. All of this will feel wholly realistic to those with experience of said system.
Shown, too, is the Appalachian(?) mindset perpetuated by some teachers at less well-off schools that their students lack the intelligence to compete academically with richer schools. This can result is students believing, often to their detriment, injury-wise, that sport or unskilled labour is their only option. Credibly presented is the casually indiscriminate use of prescribed narcotics in teens with its ensuing downward spiral into addiction, and also the power of the intelligent cartoon.
Damon's feels like an authentic voice which gives the story added credibility. Kingsolver gives her young protagonist insight: "A mean side to people comes out at such times, where their only concern is what did the misfortunate person do to put themselves in their sorry fix. They're building a wall to keep out the bad luck."
And makes him perceptive: "A dead parent is a tricky kind of ghost. If you can make it into more like a doll, putting it in the real house and clothes and such that they had, it helps you to picture them as a person instead of just a person-shaped hole in the air. Which helps you feel less like a person-shaped invisible kid."
And, of course, the reader can rely on Kingsolver for gorgeous descriptive prose: "I found a good rock and watched the sun melt into the Cumberlands. Layers of orange like a buttermilk pie cooling on the horizon. Clouds scooting past, throwing spots of light and dark over the mountainheads. The light looked drinkable. It poured on a mountain so I saw the curve of every treetop edged in gold, like the scales of a fish. Then poured off, easing them back into shadow."
Many of Dickens' characters are easily identifiable by their slightly altered names and roles; several are sterling characters, although the one with that name is the polar opposite. Those familiar with it will find elements of the story somewhat reminiscent of AB Facey's memoir A Fortunate Life. Included is a bonus essay revealing Kingsolver's inspiration for this tale. Moving and thought-provoking: a wonderful read.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Faber & Faber.
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- Sherlock Joe's Book Hunting (US)
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- Demon Copperhead
- Barbara Kingsolver
- Book Condition
- Used - Near Fine
- Jacket Condition
- Near Fine
- Quantity Available
- ISBN 10
- ISBN 13
- Harper Collins
- Date Published
- barbara kingsolver; demon copperhead; pulitzer prize
- Bookseller catalogs
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About Sherlock Joe's Book Hunting
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- Number Line
- A series of numbers appearing on the copyright page of a book, where the lowest number generally indicates the printing of that...
- Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...
- First Edition
- In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...
- The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....
- Used to mean that the binding of a book has not been overly loosened by frequent use.
- Copyright page
- The page in a book that describes the lineage of that book, typically including the book's author, publisher, date of...