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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  4,774 ratings  ·  960 reviews
An extraordinary novel about a wife who disguises herself as a man and goes off to fight in the Civil War.

She calls herself Ash, but that's not her real name. She is a farmer's faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. Neverhome tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through blood
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Little, Brown and Company
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PDXReader No, not per se. She was a compilation of many different women who enlisted as men in the Civil War (there are about 400 documented cases, although no …moreNo, not per se. She was a compilation of many different women who enlisted as men in the Civil War (there are about 400 documented cases, although no one knows how many for sure).(less)

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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,774 ratings  ·  960 reviews

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Angela M
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I call this quiet writing - simple language with phrases full of unbelievably clear descriptions. It’s a small book, telling a big and bold story of a woman impersonating a man so she can go to war. She is strong, her husband is not, so she went to fight for the Union. Ash is physically strong, digs ditches and graves and her eyesight is sharp so she kills squirrels, pigs, and men. Stronger in will and mind to do what she sets out to do, she endures, while missing her husband, her home, her land
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Thank you to Little, Brown and Company for letting me read this book ahead of publication.

"Laird Hunt's new novel is a beguiling and evocative story about love and loss, duty and deceit. Through the assured voice of his narrator and the subtle beauty of his writing, Neverhome took me on a journey so thoroughly engrossed that there were times the pages seemed to turn themselves."
Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds

"A spare, beautiful novel, so deeply about America and the language of America
Diane S ☔
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over four hundred women fought on both sides of the Civil War. This is a story about one of the woman, Constance, who leaves her husband to take care of their farm in Indiana and goes off to fight for the Union.

In a short number of pages we follow Constance, who becomes Ash, as she hikes, hunts and forages for food, to the horrific and costly battle at Antietam,and through other trials and misfortunes. What is so amazing in this book is how detailed everything is, how wonderful the writing, how
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
During the day they worked their mortars on us. You would have thought it was snowing dirt and fine flaked metal after a while. They killed a number of my company off for good but never took our cannon while we were at the guard. One time they tried a charge. To this day I will raise my weapon on any rebel I see, but the sight of a line of those fine horsemen coming at you through the smoke was a beautiful thing to behold. There was the part of the South worth keeping in that charge. It wasn't t ...more
Ron Charles
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ghosts crowd thick in Laird Hunt’s Civil War novel, “Neverhome,” and they’re not just the shades of dead Blues and Grays. A host of literary allusions haunt this book, from “Cold Mountain” to “The Red Badge of Courage” and all the way back to Homer. But what’s most striking is Hunt’s effective reversal of the roles of brave warrior and patient homemaker. In this trim epic, Penelope marches into battle while Odysseus waits behind. Inspired by true tales of hundreds of women who fought in the War ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Laird Hunt’s Neverhome has received much acclaim and that is wonderful, but that said, I feel the time I spent on the book well and truly wasted. My apologies to fans of both the author and his work, but I found very little of this narrative appealed to my particular tastes.

Personally, I found it very difficult to relate to Ash and had a hard time manufacturing empathy for her trials and circumstances. To be perfectly hones
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Take Homer’s time-honored classic The Odyssey and give it a twist: what if Penelope were the warrior traveling home to Odysseus?

In Laird Hunt’s brilliantly conceived novel, Constance Thompson – renamed Ash – disguises herself as a man and takes on the role of Union solider in the Civil War. (Of her husband, she says: “I was strong and he was not, so it was me went to war to defend the Republic.”)

But is it as simple as that? Ash Thompson seems to be harboring some secrets. How much truth is she
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
I received this eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.

Ash Thompson is a soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He fights alongside his fellow northerners and has quite a few interesting experiences, being kidnapped, sent to jail, and more. However, he has a secret: he's actually a woman. Yeah, Constance is her real name, and for some reason (seriously, some unknown reason the book never really explains, ugh) she ha
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
On the surface, Laird Hunt has written a touching tale about a woman’s love for her husband and the sacrifice she made for him. She went off to fight in the Civil War, leaving him, the weaker one, behind. Since Constance was more masculine in her demeanor and Bartholomew was more feminine, they reversed roles, and he remained at home to tend the farm. Constance Thompson became Ash Thompson and broke her husband’s heart when she left as an entirely different person.

The “Ballad of Gallant Ash” cou
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

I wish the title of this book for me would have been Neverread because it kills me to give it this rating. Although I had been looking forward to this book, I found that I couldn't get into it. The last 75 pages were pure torture and I felt like I was running in quick sand to get through them. The book was too focused on day to day, which made it extremely difficult for me. I wanted to know more about the psyche of Ash (Constance). Why did she (and almost 500 women) chose to fight? What
Scott Rhee
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if Laird Hunt's novel "Neverhome" is actually based on a true story, but it is well-documented that many women fought during the Civil War, disguising themselves as men. Such is the case with the protagonist of Hunt's novel, Constance Thompson, a wife of a farmer who feels the need to go off to war, while her husband, Bartholomew, stays at home because of a disability that makes him unable to fight. She dons the blue uniform, dubs herself Ash Thompson, and heads off to battle.

Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this.

Several hundred women are estimated to have fought disguised as men during Civil War. Laird coalesces their stories into the character of Constance "Ash" Thompson.

Constance leaves behind a husband she loves to fight for the Union Army as Ash Thompson. She justifies her leaving stating, “I was strong and he was not, so it was me went to war to defend the Republic.” In truth, Constance is restless for a life beyond her small farm. The War is a lure she cannot refuse.
I wanted to lie unde
Hunt’s sixth novel reveals the little-known history of women fighting in America’s Civil War. Ash Thompson travels from Indiana to Ohio to enlist for the Union. But here’s the rub: Ash is actually Constance, Bartholomew’s wife. Neverhome is Constance’s journey into battle and finally back home, by way of enemy territory, a makeshift prison, and even a lunatic asylum.

Homer’s Odyssey may be the most obvious reference point here – indeed, one character makes the explicit connection, remarking, “Pen
Dawn H.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Really surprised at the many 5 star ratings. I first was going to give it 1 simply because I finished it but reconsidered it's worth so gave it the 2. The first few chapters were promising but I felt it became just a bunch of independent storyline ideas thrown together to make a novel.
I wanted to understand why Constance REALLY felt the need to go off to war. Perhaps if the book had been longer allowing for more detail and continuity it would have been more of what I expected.
And don't even as
I was strong and he was not, so it was me went to war to defend the Republic.

Constance Thompson leaves her tranquil farm and peaceful husband to become Ash Thompson, a sharpshooter with the Union Army. The story meanders through bloody battles, odd encounters with various people and dream sequences, and at times, it's hard to distinguish between what is "real" and what isn't. It's a retelling of The Odyssey, which I likely wouldn't have realized except for a fairly heavy-handed hint within t
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, civil-war, netgalley
I've read a number of novels set during the civil war, but none like this one.

This tale of a woman who donned a union uniform and participated in many campaigns brought this war, with its death and destruction, into clear focus; not at the level that history books recount, but at the personal, soul-altering level. The language used here helped to foster my immersion into the time and character. The pacing was not quick, so I doubt this will appeal to those looking for more action, but I feel it
Dan Radovich
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Why have I not read Laird Hunt before this work? If his earlier writing is as wonderful as NEVERHOME, I have some catching up to do. I immediatley thought this work was the opposite of COLD MOUNTAIN after finishing the book. Ash wants to get INTO the war unlike Inman who struggled to get away from it. Ash's story is told with some of the most beautiful writing, What is compelling her? What will happen to her? Why? Why? Why? I kept reading, gladly being taken into her life by Hunt's beautifully p ...more
Thank you Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for a copy of the book.

Neverhome is one epic story. It’s so strong and so emotional. This is also how our protagonist Ash is portrayed. Ash, who is really Constance, disguises herself as a man to fight in the Civil War as a Union soldier. She ends up fooling most of those in the war and those who guess her real guise find their way to being interesting niches in the story. Her husband is not as strong as she is in body and in mind and so she fee
Edward Rathke
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Do you ever read a book and wonder why it was written?

That's kind of how I felt reading this. There's nothing really wrong with the novel, but there's also nothing especially good about it either. I'd say it's mostly a character study, but I feel that it largely fails there. Ash--or Constance--does many things in the novel, but I never really got a sense for why she did them. She doesn't seem to have any strong feelings about the Civil War, though she decided to fight in it, which was fairly aty
I received this book through netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

This is a 'small' book, beautifully written. A book to take your time with, to read somewhere where no-one disturbs you. There's no action, no historical facts, almost no dialogue. It's just you, and Ash, and Ash telling you her story. She tells you about the two years she spent disguised as a man fighting in the civil war, and while she does this, you also learn about her past.

If I had known before that there's no dialogue,
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is no glamorous war story, with inspirational speeches and heroic battles, nor is it the story of a woman in disguise trying to hide herself. This is the story of Ash, a sharpshooter by skill (if not name), a soldier and fighter, who just happens to be a woman. This is about walking through forests of bodies and bones, about sickness and leeches from the swampy ground, and mass shallow graves and cannon-deafness, madness and emotional detachment, sadness and isolation, the ugliness of war b ...more
Although I enjoyed the author's writing style and real sense of place in this novel, I have mixed feelings about it overall.
Jul 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Civil War novel, this one on an interesting aspect of the war--that of the women soldiers, women who disguised themselves as men to get into the war as soldiers. "Ash" is a big strong farm woman from Indiana who crosses the state line into Ohio to join the Union Army. Her husband, smaller and weaker than his wife, stays behind to take care of the farm.
The story is a series of escapades in which Ash encounters various characters and gets involved in fighting and killing. However, she is
Barbara McEwen
It was a decent story. I wouldn't go into it expecting to learn anything about the civil war but Constance/Ash was an interesting character and it was easy to read. A number of our book club members found it a slow starter but it picked up the pace in the second half if you are willing to wait.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
This review and others posted over at my blog

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blurb from NetGalley: She calls herself Ash, but that's not her real name. She is a farmer's faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to t
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

In a nutshell, I loved it. The pages seemed to turn themselves, and the writing was so quiet, the events just sort of snuck up on you. It's not a glamorous story by any means, and it's not a story that romanticizes war. It's a composite of many women's stories of choosing to be a soldier and a fighter in the Civil War. Not to be with their loved one, but rather to "soldier", no matter the ugliness, the cannon deaf
Nicole R
When my f2f book club selected this for the January read, I was less than thrilled even though I voted for it. The story of a woman who disguises herself as a man to fight in the Civil War was compelling. More compelling was the 288 page count during a busy time of the year.

I enjoyed the book. It was told from the point of view of Ash Thompson, a woman who leaves her home in Indiana to fight for the Union while her husband stays home to take care of the farm. Ash has mixed reasons for joining th
Redfield Reads
Mar 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

So was looking forward to this Mulan re-telling but the writers atyle
And bland characters and story were just bad.

50 pages in and nothing of note has happened.
Alexandra Daw
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Paul Auster endorses Laird Hunt’s Neverhome as “magnificent”. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know who Paul Auster (Winter Journal, The Brooklyn Follies) was when I read the book. I have since discovered he is Siri Hustvedt’s (What I Loved) partner and an acclaimed author. The things you learn when you write book reviews. Maybe Paul’s recommendation will encourage you to read the book.
Instead, maybe like me, you will want to read Neverhome because:
a) it’s a historical novel set during America’
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I finished Neverhome last night and I am still thinking about the story. Part of me is considering picking it up and reading it again. This a a beautifully written lyrical tale of the Civil War, The Odyssey in reverse.

Constance Thompson of Indiana changes her name to Ash Thompson of Ohio to fight for Union. The reason she gives for leaving her husband Bartholomew at home is he "is made of wool, I was made of wire." She even becomes a minor mythic character that inspires "The Ballad of Gallant As
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Laird Hunt is an American writer, translator and academic.

Hunt grew up in Singapore, San Francisco, The Hague, and London before moving to his grandmother's farm in rural Indiana, where he attended Clinton Central High School. He earned a B.A. from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He also stud

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