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Terug naar Coal Run

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,392 ratings  ·  151 reviews

With her eagerly awaited second novel, Tawni O'Dell takes readers back to the coal-mining country of western Pennsylvania. Set in a town ravaged and haunted by a mine explosion that took the lives of 96 men, Coal Run explores the life of local deputy and erstwhile football legend, "The Great Ivan Z.," as he prepares for a former teammate's imminent release from prison. As

Paperback, 398 pages
Published 2005 by Sijthoff (first published June 17th 2004)
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Jason Koivu
This is the book that broke my desire to be a part of the local book club scene.

"Book club scene" sounds so hip, doesn't it? Well, the only thing hip about the book club I was involved in was the talk about broken hips the old ladies in the group kept on about. If I had to guess at the median age of the members, I'd say it was somewhere around 105 years old.

But I digress...

Dangerously close to a romance novel at times, Tawni O'Dell's Coal Run was still enjoyable enough for me not to hate mysel
An engaging and rewarding novel covering the lingering impact on a rural Pennsylvania community of a coal mining disaster and the pathways to recovery that people take. Ivan Z. lost his Ukrainian immigrant father in the mine explosion which killed nearly 100 others. His success as a football hero in school and college was cut short by an accident that damaged his leg, and now, after a 15 year interlude in Florida, he returns to the town of Coal Run where he takes a position as a deputy sheriff. ...more
I didn't finish it. Her writing is really good, there are some excellent little gems of prose in what I read. But...

It lacked a lot of the luster of Backroads, and I didn't like the protagonist as much as in Sister Mine. I thought this guy was an ass, actually.

I also am finding it hard to forgive the author's opinions about female bodies. In Backroads there were some nasty things said about aging women who didn't fight the process tooth and nail, but since it was a sixteen year-old boy saying i
This was the second Tawni O'Dell novel I read, and I found it a bit tedious. Again, I shouldn't say read, as I actually listened to the audio book, and I found myself getting frustrated with the protagonist - he was a boor, and I couldn't understand why his "love interest" was interested in him at all. The story advanced at a snail's pace, the protagonist hinted at his past sins but it took forever to get to them, and then I'm not really sure he was redeemed at all by the story's end. If you cho ...more
Ivan ! Ivan!
This book is definitely not as good as her first one (Back Roads),but still she is capable of morphing boring stories into something funny and sad at the same time.I was not interested in the story as much as I was eager to discover Tawni's writing again! She is indeed a very good writer and she is able to develop numerous characters perfectly. I do not regret reading this book. In fact , it was as if Ivan was a person I've known very well.
Paul Haspel
Any discussion of Tawni O'Dell's novel Coal Run should begin with the novel's setting -- one that captures well the slow-motion tragedy that has enfolded many communities of America's Rust Belt. O'Dell's Coal Run, Pennsylvania, is an industrial ghost town that has been twice cursed. The first of Coal Run's tragedies occurred in 1967, when the J & P Coal Company Mine No. 9, the "Gertie" mine, blew up, killing 97 miners, including the father of the novel's protagonist, Ivan Zoschenko. The seco ...more
After reading O'Dell's first novel (Back Roads) and finding it extremely good, I was somewhat disappointed at her second attempt. The story wasn't that bad however, lacked 'substance' and felt like saying 'What IS the point to this story?'

From back cover:

"With her eagerly awaited second novel, COAL RUN, O'Dell takes us back to the coal mining country of western Pennsylvania, the territory she renders with striking authenticity. In a town haunted by a deadly mine explosion three decades earlier,
I'm a coal miner's daughter from a small Western PA coal town (Barnesboro, PA) and feel like my hometown was among the parts that make up the composite fictional towns in this story. Since it is so rare that anyone writes about the kind of place where I grew up and the kind of people I knew, of course, I am going to love this book. I think I would have enjoyed this novel even if I were from Alabama, but I am too biased to be sure. My big complaint is that she grossly overstated the importance of ...more
Kerry Zukus
The anthracite coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania tip their hat to the bituminous mines of the west -- or west of Philadelphia meets east of Pittsburgh. Tawni is funny, plotty, descriptive, and draws you into her world. We seem to cover a lot of the same territory in our writing, which makes me a big fan.
Karyn Niedert
I enjoyed this book in spite of the main character, Ivan Z. He seemed like a dumb high school jock in perpetual arrested development. Author Tawni O'Dell did give his character a tremendous arc of learning, to bring readers from beginning to end with great satisfaction for this character.
I enjoyed "Back Roads" very much and was excited to see another Tawni O'Dell novel on my library shelf. "Coal Run" is as atmospheric as the last. I could visualize the entire small, run-down Pennsylvania town. I know all the heart-of-gold, just trying to make the best of a hard life people. Coal Run was devastated by a mining accident that left most of the men in town in a casket or buried under ground. The way in which the widows and children move on with their lives is a secondary theme in the ...more
Janis Harrington
After reading others' reviews, I apparently need to read Back Roads, O'Dell's first book because many think Coal Run, her second, does not equal the overall effect of her first.

One of my favorite moments in the book comes when Ivan's 6 year old nephew, Everett Craig, buys a dinner at an auction with the local football hero, "the great Ivan Z" so they, his uncle and he, can spend more time together. Eb talks of his absentee father: "My dad wears a tie now, he tells me, staring at the chocolate st
Wow. This novel has it all, mystery and intrigue and the overwhelming desire to punch someone in the face and hug them to make them feel better all at the same time. Small towns have long histories and even long memories, you can leave but you are never gone and sometimes it is just best to come back and clean up your own mess and realize that everyone would have supported you no matter what.
What a wonderful web of characters. With a male protagonist, it's hard to believe the author is female. One of those books you expect to be a movie, so imagine the actors/actresses as you read. Can't wait to read another O'Dell. Fortunately there are three others.
Betsy Burrows
I loved this book! I love the way Tawni O'Dell writes... It's so hard to put one of her books down once you pick it up. I love her quirky characters, they seem so real to me. Thank you Marcie Grau for reminding me of her books. Now I will have to find some more!
I really enjoyed this book. Good story about coming to terms with mistakes made in life. I also really liked the main character, Ivan, even though he had made some pretty bad decisions in his younger life. Don't know why, but liked him.
Jul 17, 2007 Michelle rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absolutely no one I like
Shelves: audiobooks
Chose this book because it's based in a PA coal town and has references to State College/PSU (my hometown). I should've known nothing good could've come from an author named Tawni. This is unredeemable dreck.
Coal Run is a beautifully-written novel of a Western Pa coal town and horrendous mining accident that occurred in the early 1960's. It is the story of the survivors and how they lived their lives after the mine explosion. The hero Ivan Zoschenko or as he is known as the "great Ivan Z" is the local football hero with a hidden secret that is revealed slowly and tantalizingly. The real town of Centralia where the mine still burns underground appears to be the basis for Coal Run. The author's use of ...more
Tawni O'Dell's debut novel, "Back Roads", is possibly one of the greatest books I have ever read. No matter how often I return to the pages, I always find myself lost in them, drawn into a world that, despite having no real comprehension of it, I become completely involved with and caught up in.

Unfortunately, despite this novel being championed by no lesser name than Oprah Winfrey, the author seemingly vanished afterwards and nothing happened. Admittedly she wasn't as well received in the UK, po
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rodney Farrell Sr
COAL RUN is a fictional town in the Western Pennsylvania coal region. The characters, though fictional as well, are true denizens of the coal country living their entire lives connected to coal mining. I am rather familiar with this region and have known persons that could very well serve as models for O’Dell as she crafts the plot and its actors. The backdrop of coal mining and the male relationships of father, son, brother, friend, husband or lover those are all very true in the life of the mi ...more
I don't really understand the whole premise of the book. I read the whole thing, but maybe it was all really lost on me. I thought the whole Val story line was going to produce more than it did. Ivan, the high school football star that goes to Penn and makes it big but blows his knee right after he signs with the Bears, then ends up just really drinking and coming back to Coal Run. To the mining town that took his father and many others of the towns sons and fathers, and has since then destroys ...more
After the success of her first novel (Back Roads made it to the Oprah book club!), a lot of anticipation surrounded this sophomore novel. And I enjoyed this one quite a bit - just as much as her first - if not more, I think! It was a more straightforward story in a lot of ways. The narrator wasn't quite as charming as Harley, but the cast of characters as a whole felt far richer and just generally more developed than the background cast in Back Roads. There were some overlapping descriptions of ...more
Julie Hulten
O'Dell write well and sympathetically of the people and culture of coal country. The main character has a rough side, which is juxtaposed with a surprisingly gentle and sympathetic character. It's and in depth look into a way of like that 'outsiders' might never get to see, given the fact that these are a proud group, bound together by experiences that those of us who do not go down into the earth can never truly appreciate. The books make me a bit uncomfortable, but in a challenging way. They b ...more
O'Dell did a great job creating a sense of place in this novel. The novel is set in a western Pennsylvanian coal town and I was immediately pulled in. The way she describes the landscape and town and her characters made me feel like I was back in eastern Kentucky coal country. The story moved along and was an enjoyable read. She raised many contemporary issues of life in a small town.

The big problem I had with this book was the main character/narrator, Ivan. He bugged me the entire novel and I w
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Jones
Another gem from O'Dell. Similar to her first novel 'Back Roads' where she writes from the male perspective, this is a well-crafted novel with spunky dialogue, vivid characterisation, and a wicked sense of the absurd that had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. Closer in feel to 'Sister Mine' which is set in the same coal-mining community, the humour and pathos are finely balanced. A book to read a second time for pure enjoyment.
Deb Mj
My first O'Dell book was Fragile Beasts and I adored it. It was one of the few books that I could unequivocally rate 5 stars. I had high hopes for Coal Run, but have to admit I was a bit disappointed. Ms. O'Dell's sense of place and her ability to describe life in a poor Pennsylvania coal mining town are wonderful. However, I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters in here, unlike in Fragile Beasts. In the afterword, the author discloses that she wasn't sure the book would ever be co ...more
I think this could have been a better book had O'Dell not attempted a male narrator. This is more than a quick, trashy read, but the further the story progressed, the more it came across that way. The narrator began by sounding suspiciously like a female writer trying to sound like a man but then oddly morphed into the very male voice of a not-so-good romance novelist. The descriptions of the random sexy doctor thrown in at the last minute--her name Chastity, of all things--were comical--and har ...more
Being from the western PA coal mining towns, I found a particular delight in reading this book, it portrays a realism that is born out in the lives of those who live there. I did think, however, that I was going to scream if there was one more "getting drunk" paragraph!
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Tawni O'Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of Fragile Beasts, Sister Mine, Coal Run, and Back Roads, which was an Oprah's Book Club pick and a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection. Tawni's screen adaptation of Back Roads is currently in development to be made into a film with Adrian Lyne set to direct. Her work has been translated into 15 languages and been published in over 30 countri ...more
More about Tawni O'Dell...
Back Roads Fragile Beasts Sister Mine One of Us Angels Burning

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“I let my soul be corrupted that day, although it would be years later before I accepted what I had done. I forgot who I was and what I should do and only thought about what I wanted and what I could do.” 1 likes
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