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The Cypress House by Michael Koryta
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's review
Feb 01, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: mystery-thriller
Read in July, 2011

Check out my interview with Michael Koryta in August 2012 >>http://more2read.com/review/interview-with-michael-koryta/

A haunting Cleverly written story. The main protagonist Arlene has some scores to settle and souls to help close to home and out of town. The story is set in a bleak weather and financial climate. He finds himself in a town where more than his carpentry skills are needed. One woman a resident of Cypress House is in his need of his help, trapped in a web of bribery, murder and drug running at the hands of a gang of violent men. Arlene has already his own demons to deal with as he battles with and tries to understand his deceased fathers last words and days of lives. As time goes by he becomes closer to his father more than ever and starts to understand and realize his father. This was a a chilling story of human struggle in desperate times, a story written about many times before but presented here in a very different atmosphere and supernatural twist.

"This life was nothing but a sojourn anyhow. A temporary stay, that of a, stranger in a strange land."

“Love lingers,” Arlen said. It’s this place, he thought. There’s something wrong with this place. Death hides here, even from me. The Cypress House, it was called. The Cypress House. That brought back memories, too. Not of a highway tavern, though. No, no. The cypress houses of Arlen’s youth had been quite different than that. They’d been houses of death another sort entirely. The last Pope was in one now. Every Pope who’d passed on was, as far as Arlen knew. Always would be. Cypress Wood was required in the sacred burial rites of many faiths in many lands. The branches of the trees themselves were symbols of death mourning."

"You’re all I have in this world, son, that death can’t take. This world isn’t anything but a sojourn, to be sure, but death removes every trace unless you’re taken pains to leave one behind. You’re my trace, Arlen."

"He loved Work. Physical labor. It was a strange thing, maybe, but he loved the ache in his muscles at the end of a day, loved the sweat that coursed from his pores, loved the sound of a saw and the feel of a hammer, the clean crack of a well-struck nail. So many men wandered this country now, looking for so simple a thing as work. It was a bizarre notion when you stopped to think about it, and Arlen figured it was a birth pang of a new world. So much had happened to cause this Depression, so many things he understood and more that he did not, but in the end they all captured a simple idea: you couldn’t depend solely on yourself anymore. Not in the way men once had. You could have skill and strength and desire, but you had to find someone who needed to utilize those things. Was a time when, if you knew how to work metal, you’d set up a blacksmith shop and make l enough to support your family. Now, if you knew how to work metal, you’d likely need a job in a factory where the needs of not a town but a state, a nation, a world, had to be met. It was all about size now: the big ran the world on the sweat of the small, and if the big faltered for any reason, the small were the first to go."

“Cypress is damn strong."
“It makes the finest coffins,” Arlen said.“How in the hell do you know a thing like that?”
“My father told me,” Arlen said. “He paid a lot of mind to such things.”

You can view video interview on my blog here >>

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01/11 marked as: read

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