Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky” as Want to Read:
Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  272 ratings  ·  68 reviews
The boys howled. In their pockets, eye droppers of gin. They skipped to their car with eyes wide open and sped into the night, down gray county roads, grieving over nothing they could name, beating the dashboard with their fists. Near dawn they broke into a cemetery and pissed on the first angel they could find.

Leah's little brother, Jacob, disappeared when the pair were y
Paperback, 222 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Two Dollar Radio (first published August 4th 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
this is a lyrical and nonlinear little punch of a book which concerns itself with the life and memories of a woman named leah who runs a nonprofit for low-income women who are victims of domestic abuse. leah's younger brother jacob went missing when he was only five years old, and the mystery of his disappearance has haunted her for her entire life, until the day a man claiming to be jacob appears in her office. what happens next for leah is interspersed with the stories of the women who come to ...more
Diane S ☔
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 I first had a problem getting into the language and format of this novel. It is non-linear, stream of consciousness novel that skips back and forth, often on the same page. Yet, the prose and the observations were beautiful at time, tedious a others. It is more a story of memory, memories from before Leah's brother went missing and memories of her family after.

This alternates with her current job as head of a foundation that provides aid for women and children who cannot help themselves for
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, favorites
In her small Kentucky town, Leah Shepherd runs a non-profit focused on helping the victims of domestic violence. But in her quiet, reflective moments, she is haunted by the childhood disappearance of her younger brother, Jacob. Piece by piece, Leah relives her last moments with Jacob just as she encounters a final reminder of his presence.

Each page of Nahm’s writing is absolutely infectious. With a subtle cadence, he paints his story with brilliant familiarity; from the freedom of childhood summ
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing

OK, so, full disclosure: David is a friend of mine, and is honestly one of my favorite people, so even though he asked me to be objective, this is still basically a rave review (I'm not the only one who likes it! It was included in Library Journal's galley guide for ALA Midwinter, so I hope all my librarian friends grabbed a copy). The protagonist is Leah, who runs a nonprofit aimed at helping low-income women and children, and who is haunted by the disapp
you know kentucky is haunted right? no tribes actually lived there, oh sure there was hunting and gathering, and i guess the old one lived in caves waaaay back when, but who would live in a haunted land? oklahoma area too was like that, not because it was haunted, but because it is hell.
but back to kentucky, there were many proscriptions about going there, living there, getting in the water there, as there were giants made of stone who loved to munch on humans, and unspeakable panthers that live
Stuart Smith
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Some very beautiful prose here, but it felt like a short story crammed full of slam poetry like writings. I would read another novel by Nahm, but this was a very rough first novel to get through.
Nicholas Rombes
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's like entering a dream that you don't want to leave.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
confusing and hard to follow and equally hard to stay interested in.
Lisa Connors
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you need a cogent storyline to follow, you won't find it here. While the author's elusive tactics add to the mystery, we all require some point of focus to capture our attention. Their are glimmers of shining truths poetically blurted amidst the rubble of his prose, and he captures the dreamlike quality of childhood & memories...but I leave this story wondering way too much.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a novel with this much atmosphere in a long time. The feeling of dread hangs over every page, propelling you forward even through the dense fog of words to the ending, which leaves the reader hanging suspensefully, waiting and wishing for some sense of closure that never comes.

This is not a typical book, but rather a novel of memories. It takes patience to read; the first hundred pages or so is just a series of reminiscing about the golden light and dark shadows of childhood, the
Full Stop
Sep 29, 2014 added it
Shelves: fall-2014

Review by Alex Houston

Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky will challenge you. It will leave you dizzy, wistful, and drained, like you might feel if you mounted one of those long-vanished schoolyard merry-go-rounds and felt again the familiar rush of fear and delight, mixed now with a bittersweet surge of searing nostalgia and the return of a thousand long-forgotten memories. Writing it apparently wasn’t a cakewalk either: Kentucky native David Connerley Nah
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: friday-reads
Leah Shepherd runs a shelter for victims of domestic abuse in a small Kentucky town. One day, a man claiming to be her long lost brother appears, and Leah is forced to confront memories she’s long suppressed. Despite having a hook that belongs to a thriller, Ancient Oceans unfurls as languidly as a Southern summer. Like Paul Harding’s Tinkers, it’s a book about time, memory, consciousness, and the interplay between them. Like life itself, there’s no conventional plot here, but rather a series of ...more
May 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Some great imagery strung together on about two pages worth of plot. A lot of half-assed stream of consciousness, but I'm biased-- I'm prone to thinking that all stream of consciousness is half-assed. I really wanted to like this book. It's from an indie publisher, the cover/production is absolutely beautiful, and the author seems like a cutie. I just could not connect to the characters, mostly because there was very little to go on here except some non-linear and often random imagery and broken ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rife with indulgent description, Nahm's Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky is a splintered narrative that is heavy on atmosphere.

It's a cinematic read--and, as a book, plays with light and suggestion like Terrence Malick. Of course that can be both a strength and a curse. I tend towards a more brisk pacing myself, and the dense prose left me to read in short bits and starts--probably not an intended consequence. If you're the kind of reader that loves being fully enmeshed in a world, you'll cer
Grace Tenkay
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was a heavy, dense, deep book. Unfortunately the climax didn't deliver.
I was disappointed starting about halfway through. Some great writing but despite this,
the plot didn't come through.
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2014
An intriguingly structured slow burn of a novel
Hannah Lamb-Vines
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A paperback with thick pages, thick paragraphs, sentences short and long, built with words that rush whether or not you know their meaning. This is David Connerley Nahm’s first novel (Two Dollar Radio, 2014). Nahm crashes together the moments of a lifetime with the inevitability of the tide. Disparate moments situate themselves amongst each other, illustrating the necessity of each moment, each choice, in leading to the next.

The story of a little boy’s unsolved disappearance is fractured into a
First off, if you're thinking about reading this book, please skip the synopsis. The synopsis gives away too much.

Secondly, only read this if you don't care about a clear resolution, and if you're okay with non-linear storytelling with random atmospheric descriptions that feel loosely like poetry.

With that said, I did enjoy Nahm's writing style -- mainly his word choice. I liked how he described small town aspects in a stream of conscious way. He drifted off into memories that make you think abo
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book had so much potential, but it fell way short. Too much stream of consciousness and too little “guide posts” so that the reader would know if they are reading about a flashback, a dream, or what character the passage related to. That said, I could totally identify with the storylines about children telling and honestly believing scary stories their friends tell no matter how unbelievable. It was a super interesting plot line especially considering the main character’s brother disappeare ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I really liked being in this book. I got distracted at first with the inconsistent tense - present and past mixed in together. Once I accepted that it was intentional, I was able to ride along with it. ["What's past is prologue." Shakespeare, The Tempest. "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun.]

I'm not sure I understand the book completely , except that it made the point for me that when something bad happens when you're young, it can stay with you (and haunt
Carolyn Tassie
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will have to admit that this book about Crow Station, KY was a challenge to read, but what a great challenge. Beautiful descriptive passages; some too long, some absolutely poetic, and some filled me with such memories that I shed a few tears. The story is somewhat of a thriller and the protagonist was hard to understand or gain sympathy, but a very interesting character. The book club discussion was great.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Did I dream you dreamed about me? A dream inside a dream. A life, any lives, moments, eternity captured in phrases of the moment and memories. I was pulled in to the story and once I synced with the writing rhythm I didn’t miss a beat till the end. I finished with a resounding what the ? I think I get it.
M- S__
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2dr
Ornamentation: The Book. There's a pretty good story buried in here, but Nahm would go pages and pages telling you nothing and trying to evoke some kind of nostalgia by hitting you with literally sixty consecutive unrelated images and anecdotes.

Maybe those passages could work individually as a prose poem, but scattered in the middle of a novel, it made for a tough read.
Terena Bell
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is genuinely one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Nahm's use of language is commanding, making poetry out of prose without sacrificing story. It's been years since I've read it and certain passages still haunt me.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another very original work. Written more as a novel-poem, this is a novel that relys on atmosphere more than characterization or plot. It definitely required more focus and some passages had to be read multiple times to let the image Nahm was relating crystallize into something recognizable ( which isn't really a criticism, as the image that became clear was suffused with emotion and detail that is often missing in more traditional novels). I found myself wondering why did Nahm describe it like ...more
Lauren Dostal
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lyrical, mystifying, a perfect picture of post traumatic life--the numbness, the guilt, the way past and present blend in memory and you get lost walking down the aisles of the grocery store. This kind of writing takes more concentration than your average novel, with Kahn sometimes flooding the page with enough imagery to keep your mind busy for weeks, and it is well worth the effort. Another excellent read from Two Dollar Radio.
S.W. Stromberg
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is really such a beautiful book that I'm honestly almost taken aback. Like, how dare this book be so beautiful, so heart breaking, so intense? I felt like I was constantly moving while reading this; sometimes sprinting, sometimes sauntering, sometimes crawling, but always, always moving. There are some reviews who will say that it seems jumpy, strange and like the book itself has ADHD. I have ADHD, and let me tell you: I'm incredibly excited and invigorated to read something as fast as my m ...more
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: npr, read-in-2014
4.5 stars

Reading this in bits and pieces over the course of several months was not the way to do Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky justice. The poetic, stream-of-consciousness tone of Nahm's prose demands careful attention, rather than reading a few pages at a time here and there.

The rhythms of Ocean's language communicate characters' emotions at least as much - if not more - as they convey plot details or clearly stated motivations. Losing track of those rhythms makes already obscure informat
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Commonwealth of Kentucky was once an ocean. Not a land of bluegrass but an endless expanse of blue waves, waters full of indescribably creepy creatures that frisked and scuttled below the surface of a sea that was ancient even then, but over time the waters receded and the dead of those obscure monstrosities slumbering on the floor were battered and crushed by currents to grains and granules.

a quiet little read.. it took a bit to pick up the bouncing back and forth between the memories, thou
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Haints Stay
  • Mira Corpora
  • The Trace
  • Naissance d'un pont
  • A Miracle of Catfish
  • Beyond the Horizon
  • Take It or Leave It
  • Honey from the Lion
  • Cheatgrass
  • The Word Book
  • A History of Silence: a memoir
  • Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA
  • Crystal Eaters
  • By Night the Mountain Burns
  • Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology (Library of America)
  • Turtleface and Beyond: Stories
  • 29
  • The Fault Line: Traveling the Other Europe, From Finland to Ukraine
Originally from Kentucky, David Connerley Nahm currently lives in Virginia. "Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky" (Two Dollar Radio, August 2014) is his first novel.
“All children want to go to space. Earth only offers parents wailing about overdraft notices and evening news playing in an empty den. Dead pets too. Childhood is a rot. And so they look up and see stars shiver, ancient information only just now arriving, because that is the only place left to look, and they yearn.” 2 likes
“The young couple in their first home marveled at the two raccoons in the moonlight of the backyard. The young couple could not conceive that there would ever be a time when they would not be in their house watching raccoons through the kitchen window. There had been one raccoon on the deck, eating the cat's food, and when it registered some motion from inside the house, the young man putting his arm around his young wife, it ran down into the yard, pausing for a moment to make a sound and the second raccoon ran out of the darkness and together they trundled off. To the young couple, this moment felt as though it would exist forever, this life they had, and even when he sat by her bedside in the hospital, slipping in and out of herself, looking much changed without her teeth, he felt as though all he had to do was rise from the chair and look out of the window, steadying himself on the sill so he wouldn't slip again, to see those two dark creatures who had long since returned to the generalized life of the Earth.” 0 likes
More quotes…