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Honey from the Lion

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In this lyrical and suspenseful debut novel, a turn-of-the-century logging company decimates ten thousand acres of virgin forest in the West Virginia Alleghenies—and transforms a brotherhood of timber wolves into revolutionaries.

After fleeing his childhood farm in the wake of scandal, Cur Greathouse arrives at the Cheat River Paper & Pulp Company’s Blackpine camp, where an
Paperback, first, 264 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Lookout Books
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Can I give my own book 5 stars? Ah hell, I'll go ahead and do it... ...more
Brett Beach
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Review forthcoming in The Master's Review--but, sweet lord, this book is astonishing. Dark, violent, lyrical, heartbreaking, and somehow redemptive. One of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had recently. Matthew Neill Null is not just someone to watch, he's fully formed. Get this book.

Edited to add: (

Matthew Neill Null’s debut novel, Honey from the Lion, is an extraordinary and powerful examination of the steady decimation of ten thousand acres
John Tipper
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Matthew Neill Null's first novel has writing that reaches out and grabs you. The style is full of pyrotechnics: metaphors, similes, playful new word usages. All done in an assured manner. And this is good because the subject of the writing is not pretty or nice. It centers on the logging of northern Appalachia in the early 20th Century, the pillaging and plundering of the landscape that left it practically uninhabitable for both humans and animals.

Cur is the main character but has a psychologica
E Stanton
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent read! Full disclosure for anyone of my friends here who don't know, Matt's parents are very good friends of mine. When all the kids were smaller, we'd do beach trips together, family cookouts, etc. Matt then went to W&L at the same time as my niece. we've stayed in touch through the years until FB and sites like made staying in touch very easy. Matt has written a few books of short stories that I haven't read, but plan to in the near future.
This story is an excel
Spencer Keasey
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful writing.
hot tipped novel by scibona, joy williams, jaimy gordon, anthony marra...historical novel set in west virginia where gilded robber barons log off the forests and own the towns and govt, and mine the coal...our protag is poor, fairly dumb, hillbilly who'd been fing his stepmom, but got thrown off the farm, so he goes to work cutting trees... there's a crazy preacher, a couple of thinking-men blue collar union dudes, some se euro immigrant anarchos, a czech fatal down on her luck but could think s ...more
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating historical novel focused on a 19th century West Virginia logging community. This is a novel jam-packed with ideas and themes, but for me the sheer destructive force of the timber industry was the most resonant, especially as our culture still struggles to respect humanity's only home (to put it mildly). The entire book is lyrical, even poetic, but the action really picks up in the second half. ...more
Ed Maher
Nov 01, 2015 rated it liked it
For a first novel, this was very good. Exceptional writing, but the story tended to drift. What is it with non linear story lines? If the author had focused more on the main character and told his biography from beginning to end, I think this could have been extraordinary.
I look forward to Mr. Null's next book.
Sarah Ingram
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
It took a while to get in to this book. It's very detail oriented, so I found myself rereading pages often. I did have a little trouble following some of the characters. The style of writing reminded me a little of Russell Banks (most specifically, Cloudsplitter). ...more
Billie Hinton
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review forthcoming on
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I am very conflicted over this book and I’m still trying to process it. I read Mr. Null’s short story collection Allegheny Front 2-3 years ago and thought it was hands down the best short story collection I had ever read. I’ve been meaning to re-read that to analyze what it was I loved so much about it.

This novel was released a few years earlier, and while amazing in many ways, I struggled with it. I agree with the review that is quoted on the back cover, it reads like a first hand account from
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Une lecture qui m'a demandé énormément de concentration, plus qu'habituellement, mais qui m'a permis de me plonger dans l'enfer des travailleurs américains dans une scierie perdue dans la montagne, au début des années 1900. Rêves et désillusions, camaraderie et chacun pour soi, l'histoire aborde des tas de sentiments différents, et l'auteur réussit ce voyage à merveille ! ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Picked up for no good reason from the new book shelf at the library. More than a little Faulkner. Great read about a moment in time.
Andrew Wert
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book keeps you on your toes. Exciting, suspenseful, with a good dash of historical fiction thrown in, and yes, even a bit of sex.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Null has a wonderful grasp of language and phrasing... i found the tale a bit meandering at times, but the overall sense was of a slow dying of a way of life, so maybe that was purposeful... well-developed characters of varying levels of humanity and evil and sadness...
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
highly praised debut novel from this author who on 08.07.2016 via the NY Times "Southern Fiction" Shortlist had another book recommended; not at any Madison Co. Libraries;...debut novel fr. new Southern writer that the NY Times loved: not so me. Very dense writing; also very hard scrabble subject matter. I am thinking if this guy keeps writing in time his density will soften and hopefully the subject matter will become lighter as well…this one was not my cup of tea. The only reason I finished it ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

I don't know about this book. I read some of the reviews by other readers and it seems to be a well liked book. I usually like to read historical fiction, but I did not 'get into' this book. I didn't even finish it this time. I will try to read it again later.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction

"Viewed from that peak, the land was a mutilated sea. Naked Mount Spruce in the distance, biting clouds, highest in the state. They saw no deer, no livestock, not even a carrion crow. The horrible tranquility of it all. No birds sang. Nothing but the sound of their own voices, their own thoughts. They had emptied their world like a jug." page 239
Fielding Williams
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very lyrical and descriptively delicious. In some parts I got a little bogged down with too much effort put into the wording but loved the overall story and density of the language. Read Serena by Ron Rash! It's similar in time and setting. ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
excellent discussion of the western nc tree mining operation from the worker's perspective ...more
Steve Mitchell
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Nov 20, 2015
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Dec 09, 2018
Burke Burke
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Sep 01, 2016
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Aug 17, 2017
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Sep 28, 2016
rated it it was ok
Jul 31, 2018
Andrea Flint
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Apr 20, 2016
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Jul 14, 2015
Michael Taeckens
rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2015
rated it really liked it
Aug 06, 2017
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Matthew Neill Null is a writer from West Virginia, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a winner of the O. Henry Award, the Mary McCarthy Prize, and the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is author of the novel HONEY FROM THE LION and the story collection ALLEGHENY FRONT.

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