East of Denver
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East of Denver

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Mixing pathos and humor in equal measure, East of Denver is an unflinching novel of rural America, a poignant, darkly funny tale about a father and son finding their way together as their home and livelihood inexorably disappears.

When Stacey “Shakespeare” Williams arrives at his family’s farm in eastern Colorado to bury a dead cat, he finds his widowed and senile father,...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by Dutton Adult
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Mark Stevens
"East of Denver" is evocative, moody, funny, bleak, desperate and, somehow, optimistic all at the same time. The story is chock full humanity and the images are chiseled with sharp, clean strokes.

Hill had me from the opening paragraph, an 11-sentence beauty that packs the kind of energy and forward momentum that carries the book along. We are with Stacey “Shakespeare” Williams on his way out to the family farm in eastern Colorado to bury a dead cat and also to discover a major challenge with hi...more
Kayla
I won this book from a first reads giveaway here on goodreads!

Wow. This book took me by surprise! I really enjoyed reading this one. It's definitely not my typical read; I couldn't tell you the last time I read a book where the main character was a male in his 40's or somewhere around there. Yet, something about this book is so compelling that it completely drew me in despite not being what I would typically pick up from a library or book store.

At first I thought it was Gregory Hill's writing....more
Katie Kenig
When I first started reading this book, I thought "Brilliant! I'm going to give it five stars! I love character-driven novels and these characters are so compelling! They remind me of people down home in southern Illinois. They're lovely and charming and unique and frustrating and annoying and so heartbreakingly real. Oh, this is going to be such a lovely relaxing read with more depth than action, and a nice break from the suspense and horror I've been reading lately!"

When I got about halfway th...more
Jackie
On the surface, this is a simple book. A 40something Denver man, Stacey "Shakespeare" Williams takes an unscheduled trip to his boyhood home in Dorsey, CO only to find his father living in deep dementia and profound squalor. Shakes finds his caretaker dead in the bathroom (a week ago, from natural causes) and quits his job and moves back in with his father to see what he can do to literally save the farm. Over the next several months the bills pile up, the groceries go down, old friends are some...more
Chris
Hard to describe this book. It's like Christopher Moore meet Quentin Tarantino. It should be a movie and has indie film written all over it. Scott Glenn would play the father. Joseph Gordon-Levitt would play the son. This story has an air of tragedy that is totally usurped by dark humor. The return of the prodigal son or should I say the only son from the big city back to his rural roots-all to bury a cat, sets off an improbable chain of events that has you in awe of the author's gift for captur...more
Bennett Gavrish
Grade: A-

L/C Ratio: 70/30
(This means I estimate the author devoted 70% of his effort to creating a literary work of art and 30% of his effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)

Thematic Breakdown:
35% - Senility
30% - Small town culture
20% - Farming
15% - Humor


East of Denver won the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and after 12 months in the publishing carousel, Gregory Hill's debut novel was released into the wild. It's a simple story with a small cast that hits alternating notes of hilarit...more
Jen
I really enjoyed this book. As a (mainly) fiction reader, as a librarian, and as a Colorado transplant who really doesn't know much about the Midwest. (Full disclosure, my husband works at the same organization as the author, but I myself have never met him.)
East of Denver isn't really about one thing. It's about how you can't go home again, and how as our parents age our roles reverse (sometimes suddenly). It's about recognizing the humanity in the people around you. It's about that quality in...more
Christopher
This book left me feeling conflicted.

I picked it up because it's a book about Denver (kind of) by a local author, and it won an Amazon award.

I kept reading it because the first half was beautiful, and then the later plot elements were too fantastical and weird to ignore.

I chuckled and smirked at parts, and became morose and sullen after reading other parts.

The reader of the audio book sounded physically taxed by the act of reading the book; chapters began in a clear voice and ended in a grav...more
Randy Briggs


A lovely little book about a group of small-town misfits who hatch a half-assed plan to rob a bank. Smart, quirky and heartbreaking. I read it in one sitting.
Paul
Great sense of place and excellent characters. Should be a film in the near future.
Viviane Crystal
Shakespeare Williams (SW) (real name Stacey but no one ever calls him that) is on his way home because his cat has been murdered and he must be buried on home ground next to other beloved animals who met their demise earlier. No, there are no tears; SW just puts the dead animal in the car and begins the trek to Colorado. When he gets there, he hope to just visit but discovers, after the burial, that his father is definitely shows signs of senility, including handing over hundred dollar bills for...more
Betty
Many people will find this book relate to them in some way. Who hasn't lived with or known someone with dementia or alzheimer's and seen all sides of this insidious illness? The protagonist and sometimes narrator, Stacey "Shakespeare" Williams a.k.a. "Shakes," is on his way back from Denver to the old family farm and his father. A quirky cast of old high school friends come back into Shakes' life when he arrives too, both helping and hindering.

His father is living by himself and as Shakes will...more
Court Merrigan
Oh, man, did I want to love this book. It has all the hallmarks of a good country noir - the disaffected and alienated loner, the crazy, the seemingly empty countryside, the irony and the lack of moral compass. So I'll start by saying that this book is certainly country noir (it even manages to cram in some violence in, towards the end). AND it has the added benefit of being funny. Mr. Hill knows how turn his MC's first-person POV into some seriously funny lines: "Teh mentality in Strattford Cou...more
Nicole Overmoyer
I was lucky enough to win a copy of East of Denver through a Goodreads giveaway by Plume Books. I admit that one of my favorite things about Goodreads is that I can enter giveaways and win books that I probably wouldn't have picked up at a bookstore. I probably would have passed this book by. But the blurb on the giveaway page looked interesting enough so I entered.

Very happily, I won.

The back of the book describes it as "darkly comic" and that is the best possible description for this book.

It's...more
Pamela Detlor
Jul 03, 2012 Pamela Detlor rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Contemporary fiction lovers
Author, Gregory Hill, delivers a fine example of first person writing, within the pages of “East of Denver.” The story flows with a steady pace from beginning to end.

This is definitely a black comedy. Despite the harsh landscape and all encompassing family turmoil, “Shakespeare” and “Emmett Williams” bring levity and heart to a story that could potentially be a huge downer. I found the cast of characters very believable, in a climate where complacency is better than giving up. The scenes betwee...more
Garryvivianne
A young man "Shakespere" Williams takes a trip to a city outside of Denver to his father's farm to bury a dead cat. There he finds his dad living badly due to his senility. He hooks up with 3 of his school buddies, 3 misfits actually, and he really knows no good would come of his getting together with them.

He realizes he probably needs to stay with his dad to help out. The farm is useless & run down & his father forgets things too much lately. So he quits his job & moves in with his...more
Chelsey
Jul 09, 2012 Chelsey rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Dark Humour Enthusiasts
Shelves: first-reads
My thanks go out to First Reads and the publisher for sending me this novel.

I did not enjoy this book as much as other people did. I felt that the main character's anosmia was an after-thought and had no real impact on the novel. I think the secondary character of Vaughn was completely unnecessary and I didn't think there was a point to having him in the book. The plot of the book lacked detail and was confusing at points.

The transitions between paragraphs were sometimes confusing as they would...more
cupcake
What a quirky, fun, heartbreaking book this is.

They say you can't go home again, but when his cat dies, Stacey "Shakespeare" "Shakes" Williams decides to bring it back to his small rural hometown, somewhere - you guessed it - east of Denver. Things certainly have changed. Shakes's dad is in the throes of dementia, occasionally forgetting that his wife died some years previously. Conversations are repeated. The home is a fetid bowl of squalor. And when his father's caretaker is discovered dead in...more
Nathan Strickland
It's easy to see in the first 3,000 words or so why this novel won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2011. The opening line about the dead cat is a fine hook (that eventually goes nowhere, unless I missed some unusually deep symbolism) and the revelations of the father's impoverished state (both literally and figuratively) are genuinely moving.

Then the wheels start to come off.

Characters visit each other in scenes that seem to serve no purpose. Instead of making secondary characters more...more
Mary


This is a story set in dying rural America, in this case on a non-working farm in eastern Colorado, about a son who has come home to care for his father with dementia. Stories dealing with Alzheimer's seem to be increasingly common, and I doubt that will go away. In this case the father is quite young to have these problems, only 62, which seems surprising, further he is portrayed as a sort of idiot savant. Other details also seem to not be there - was the son working before he came from Denver...more
1morechapter
http://www.1morechapter.com/2012/09/0...

4.5 stars

Gregory Hill won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for East of Denver in 2011.

Disclaimer: I grew up near the area where the story takes place.

Due to that fact, I was especially interested in reading this novel. I’d been disappointed in the past by books set in northeastern Colorado — most notably, Kent Haruf’s Plainsong (though I’m still willing to give his other books a chance.)

I was impressed, though, by East of Denver. There were still a few...more
Tony
The "you can never go home" plot is a well-worn one, but for some reason I was curious to see how it played out in a small town in eastern Colorado. "Shakes" has been living a dead-end life in Denver, and returns to the family farm to take care of his declining father, who seems to have Alzheimer's. The symbolism is laid on a bit thick, with the father representing the decline of the town, and small-town America in general. The father had an instinctive ingenuity for solving the day to day probl...more
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
I never met so many doofuses in between the pages of a book before. The only character I really took a shine to was Emmett, a famer/inventor who is the victim of early onset dementia. When his son, "Shakes" moves back to the family farm to eastern Colorado to take care of his father, he learns that his father has been swindled by the local bank owner and is near penniless. Shakes comes up with some half-assed schemes to remedy the situation, but don't get your hopes up. When he reconnects with f...more
Carmen
A son with a dead cat in tow comes to visit his father, who is suffering from early on-set dementia. And so it begins, getting slightly weirder and more lovable with each turned page. This book is the story of a family's demise that is filled with hope and optimism and the crazy belief that if you do nothing about a problem it simply doesn't exist. There is the cast of loser characters, led by Stacey (Shakespeare) Williams and his dad and rounded out with old school friends. And when I say loser...more
David
It sounds crazy when you hear that Hill originally sat down to write a zombie book when he wrote "East of Denver" but that didn't end up happening. It also sounds crazy when you hear that Hill wanted to write about Alzheimer's without all the horrible things that are always part of that terrible disease. But, none of that mattered when I actually read this book. The book is certainly crazy, but in a landmark kind of good way. Stacey "Shakespeare" Williams' plan to rob the bank that cheated his s...more
Amber
I think I'd give it 3 1/2 stars (why doesn't good reads allow 1/2stars anyway). It is a wondering tale of the disintegration of a man's life as his father's senility advances. The book jacket almost makes it sound like a caper -there's a plot to rob the bank that was swindling his addled father's farm, airplane, and farm tools- but it's really the tale of a character who is lost and tries the easiest way out. Do nothing. Quirky (as described in another review) is probably apt. As a side note the...more
Danielle
I won this book on a first-reads giveaway and I am quite glad I did!! I really enjoyed reading East of Denver and had a difficult time putting it down. The main characater, 'Shakes' has the worst stream of bad luck happen and despite that, he just keeps on rolling on with life while everything seems to crumble around him. His father, Emmett, is quite senile and absolutely hilarious. The rest of the support characters are all a bunch of quirky members of a small town who you cannot help but laugh...more
John
I had high hopes for this book.

It started out great, very quirky & funny, and I might even say it was worth reading. The ending though, drop you off the face of the earth without fulfilling any of the promise given at the beginning.
Bea Bolinger
You had me at Denver... and admittedly I would love to be in a writing group with you. Funny and it really captured the spirit of living on the plains however I admit I was let down by the ending (if you don't want any spoiler than stop reading now).

Like I said you had me at Denver you lost me with the plan to rob the bank, through charm and a magical relationship between father and son you got me back and I was gripped with the snake bite. Which is why the ending was such a let down - although...more
JoAnne Pulcino
EAST OF DENVER

By Gregory Hill

Shakespeare Williams returns home to the family farm in eastern Colorado and finds his widowed father broke and senile. He suddenly finds himself as caretaker of the farm and his father.

He drifts back to high school acquaintances and comes up with a fairy tale revenge scheme.He decides to rob the bank that took advantage of his fathers condition.

Shakespeare is a paralyzed individual, totally without survival skills.

This is a dark and sometimes humorous tale of fath...more
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East of Denver - excerpt from 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Entry (Kindle Edition) CLEP Calculus CLEP Calculus Book + Online Nice Guys Don't Always Finish Last CLEP Calculus w/ Online Practice Exams (CLEP Test Preparation)

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