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The Weight of This World

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,753 ratings  ·  347 reviews
Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as "a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature" (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.

A combat veteran returned from war,
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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David Joy Audio should release on the same day as hardback (March 7) and as far as I know it will be read by Macleod Andrews who also did the audio version of W…moreAudio should release on the same day as hardback (March 7) and as far as I know it will be read by Macleod Andrews who also did the audio version of Where All Light Tends To Go. I'm excited he'll be reading. I think he did a phenomenal job with the last one.(less)

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The juxtaposition of grim circumstances and the sheer beauty of this author’s words is astounding. This was my first time reading David Joy and my first foray into Appalachian-Noir or Grit Lit, whatever you want to call it, and I can honestly say, I’m hooked. I’m a reader that frequently dabbles in dark reads, but I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced this version of dark. Reminiscent of a train wreck . . . it felt wrong to stare, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from this shit-storm of bad ...more
David Joy
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Well, I did write the damn thing.
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second David Joy book that I've read and its all I need to make it official - I am in love with his amazing writing skills!

The Weight of This World is gritty and tragic.
The characters are so strong and the atmosphere is so rich that I felt like I was living the story, not reading it.

"𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡 𝙝𝙞𝙢𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝙢𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙘𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙘𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙫𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙚𝙙𝙜𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙚 𝙠𝙣𝙚𝙬 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙝𝙞𝙢, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙝𝙚 𝙙𝙞𝙙𝙣'𝙩 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥 𝙝𝙞𝙢𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙜𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧. 𝙃𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙙𝙞𝙙 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙖𝙠
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
David Joy's debut book Where All Light Tends to Go kinda left something wanting for me, but dang, he stepped it up in this one. *4.5 stars*

This book opens with young Aiden McCall's parents dying violently before his eyes. He ends up in a group home and runs away. He takes to the woods and is found by his friend Thad. Thad tells him to come live with him now, his mom won't care since she and his step-father have given him a trailer on their land to keep him out of their hair.

That sets up the boy
Larry H
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
"In that way, this day was no different from any day that had come before, and that was part of what kept Aiden up at night: the cyclical nature of it all. For his entire life everything had been a continuous whirling of disappointment, the circle seeming to tighten and become just a little more certain with each passing year."

Aiden McCall has known nothing other than his small North Carolina town, and virtually known nothing other than being poor his entire life. Orphaned at a young age, he fen
Diane S ☔
The book starts off with a bang, literally and at the ages of twelve, Aidan enters Thad's life. Lives that seem doomed from the start, they grow up but not much changes. Thad, goes to war and Aidan stays home and waits for his return. Aidan has plans to escape these South Carolina mountains, escape his numbing existence because let tell you these people are lost, lost in their drug fueled angst, their grim poverty, their gritty existence. Their, what seems almost a predetermined fate.

This autho

Aiden McCall was twelve years old the one time he heard “I love you.” Even then he didn’t so much hear the words as read them on his father’s lips.

That night would be the last time he saw his father or his mother, those words would be his father’s final words to him. In the group home, on the nights that followed he shared a bed with a boy who loved baseball, collected baseball cards and wet the bed. But even those days wouldn’t last, and it wasn’t long before Aiden helped hi
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
North Carolina mountain country.  Crystal meth and trailer trash.  The smell of corn liquor and Aqua Velva.  Hear the evangelist spew his 'fire and brimstone swindlings' to those who cannot seem to discern his sly prevarications from God's own truth.

Damaged souls, unwanted and unloved.  Lives going from bad to worse in a hurry, courtesy of the influence of meth, hair-trigger tempers, and just pure D bad judgment.  Wrecked pieces that cannot be put back together.  There are prices to be paid for
Wow, what a disappointment...

I’ve read David Joy’s Where All the Light Tends to Go and, more recently, The Line that Held Us, which is one of my all time FAVORITE Southern Grit Lit novels. The Weight of This World offered me nothing as a reader - characters that are uninteresting low life drug dealers, no decent plot, and a missing story line.

My hope is that his newest novel coming out later in 2020 comes full swing back to his writing style that I love.

Thanks to the Boston Public Library e pro
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“If there was a God, He wasn’t worth a damn. The devil wins out every time.”

Despite having a reader copy of this for months and despite the glowing review of a certain throne sitter, I never bothered taking a gander The Weight Of This World until the day before publication. When I started it during my lunch hour the other day I was hooked right from page one (in the immortal words of one Ron Burgundy, “boy, that escalated quickly!”
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark book about two young men in the Appalachian mountain area of NC. Thad has come back from Afghanistan with scars both inside and out. Aiden has turned into a minor criminal because jobs are scarce. Together, they strip copper out of foreclosed houses and vacation homes and are living a meager existence. As Aiden calls it “trying to make an honest living stealing from millionaires and banks.”

The story alternates between Aiden and Thad’s POV. Joy does a great job of getting into both of the
Re-read: July 2018
I enjoyed David Joy's second novel even more during my re-read. Such a heartbreaking story at its core, and I don't know how Joy does it but he allows a glimmer of hope to shine in a storyline that appears void of any light at first glance. I love his writing!

Thank you to goodreads and G.P. Putnam's Sons! I was a Giveaways winner of the paperback edition of The Weight of This World.

Original Review: March 2017
If I learned anything from Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, i
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-feel, tragedy
…on his shoulders. Those are the words I thought of to finish that sentence, even before cracking the cover. They fit perfectly from the first page. Tragic in its start, when revealing the background, the childhood (or lack thereof) of Aiden McCall. 12 years old to an adult in a moment. There is only one person there for him after that. Thad, the friend who becomes an inseparable brother until they are young men still living in those same hills of North Carolina, a place that is as much home as ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This novel gets your attention from the start. As others have stated, this one is dark and brutal but the writing is great and believable. Also, the characters are well developed and you eventually care a bit for them and hope for the best. If you love events that keep moving, pick this one up and WHAT an epilogue!  photo IMG_0033_zpshqj0ndj8.gif ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in Jackson County, North Carolina, this book is about childhood friends Thad and Aiden and Thad's mother April. Aiden was orphaned by an act of murder/suicide when he was very young. Thad, while not technically an orphan, never had the love of a family. I've grown a little tired of grit lit, which tends to be cliche-ridden, but I really liked this book. Yes, there were guns and meth, but this was more a story of inevitable tragedy than it was of stupid people making bad choices. The three ch ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Thank you to First Read Digital for an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.
This book publishes March 7, 2017.

3.5 stars

High on the mountain - lost to the world. In the back woods of North Carolina, people feel lost to the world. They fight the outside - they fight each other. Crime is a way of life. Two young boys are cast aside to make their own way - anyway they can. Through death, drugs and violence Aiden McCall and Thad Broom grow into violent men.

The author David Joy put forth a sto
Judy D Collins
Talented storyteller, David Joy returns following his outstanding debut, Where All the Light Tends to Go to rural North Carolina mountains of Appalachia with another dark, gritty Southern noir THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD. From flawed and tortured souls, in search of light within the darkness.

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

In Sylva, NC Aiden McCall, at t
The weight of this world has weighed heavily on the shoulders of the three main characters. Thad is back from a tour in Afghanistan and can’t come to terms with the horrific event that happened there. His mother, April, has her own secrets and violent past that she’s battling to get out from under. And Aidan watched his father kill himself and Aidan’s mother when he was a child. There’s no honest work to be found so Thad and Aidan find some dishonest work and both turn to alcohol and drugs to ge ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelby(trains flying monkeys), Kelly(and the Book Boar), Zoeytron, Jennifer, Larry H, Melissa, and Liz expressed my feelings about the book, this talented author, and the characters perfectly. Read their reviews, they are that good.
RoseMary Achey
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In his new novel David Joy explores deep multigenerational poverty, PSTD, and deep friendship. The protagonist, Aiden watches his father shoot his mother and then commit suicide. After bouncing around the foster care system for several years he runs away and eventually ends up living with a buddy, Thad. Thad is a returning combat veteran with serious mental and physical scars.

Joy once again sets his story in the rural impoverished areas of Jackson County North Carolina-an area where extreme wea
Donna Davis
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those that love strong fiction.
David Joy is a writer that keeps it real, and that’s what made me lurch forward in my desk chair and grab my mouse when I saw his second novel was done. Big thanks go to Net Galley and Putnam Penguin for the DRC, which I received in exchange for this honest review. This title will be available to the public March 7, 2017. Those that cherish strong fiction should buy it and read it.

The setting is Little Canada, North Carolina, a wide place in the road in the middle of nowhere. The family unit, su
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
3.5 stars

Thad Broom left Afghanistan but he can't forget it.  He's in constant pain and doctors have given him the run around for years, shuffling him between specialists with no results, just meds that can't stop the physical and mental pain.

Back in the trailer he grew up in with his childhood best friend Aiden McCall, the two friends are barely scraping by, stripping copper from abandoned homes to feed a meth addiction.

Aiden realizes there's nothing for them on the mountain.  He has a sense of
Mark Matthews
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Weight of this World will be remembered as one of the most rewarding novels I've read. It started when I read the kindle sample, and then immediately hit Buy. Yes, there is a grit here, not forced nor dark for shock value, but rather for illumination, because within this bleak universe there is a kindness for the characters. An amazing grace, even, to the experiences of this family. Their tale becomes a song of rural Appalachia, with one true sentence after another, until it becomes lyrical pros ...more
Jim Angstadt
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Weight of This World
David Joy (Goodreads Author)

Grim, unsettling, probably accurate, portrayal of life and death in remote, hilly North Carolina.

The three main characters are April Broom, her son Thad, and Aiden McCall, the long-time friend of Thad.

These three live in a world vastly different from more main-stream people. Their world is filled with alcohol, drugs, incoherence, lies, theft, and just getting by. There are no 'good' role models, or good schools, or adequate social or political
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 rounded up ...David Joy is one of my favorite local writers; a spectacular storyteller of this area.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
There was no breeze, just heat, like all the air had been sucked out of this place and all that was left was that temperature that bore down on everything. All the weight of this world seemed to be on him right then and he just stood there staring out into nothing at all, unsure how much longer he could go without buckling beneath it.

The Weight of This World is compulsively readable, and being a slim volume, I went through it fairly quickly, the whole time thinking, “This is great”. The sent
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Joy is a very talented writer, with a gift for getting deep inside the minds and hearts of his characters. By the end of this novel I knew Thad and Aiden inside and out. The problem is that the minds and hearts of his characters are so deeply dark and damaged that I'm not sure I wanted to know them that well.
As with his previous novel, Where All the Light Tends to Go, Joy is writing about the most down-trodden, hopeless, unlucky and option-less Americans. I wondered in the first half how
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
Thank you to Penguin First to Read for an advance e-galley of this book.

This book is dark. Very dark. Not generally the type of novel I jump to, if ever, but I was pleasantly surprised by my feelings toward this book. I will say, I was committed to giving this book 5 stars until I reached about 60% into the book, when the stuff of nightmares set in and never wavered.

Until a little over halfway, I was hooked on the lives of Thad and Aiden and April, each having suffered terribly from the crappy


Harsh Living
Drug Dependency
Gritty Realistic Fiction
Poignant & Brutal
TW: Dog Violence

With Audio Performed by Macloed Andrews


Another bleak disheartening look at the harsh life you may get if you go down the road with drugs.  The drug of choice for this story is Meth.  Why anyone would choose to do this drug in the first place is beyond me...but for some, maybe it is beyond them...almost as if it chooses them instead of the ot
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
David Joy had pleasantly surprised me with his debut Where All Light Tends to Go. So much so that I was excited when I saw this book on Netgalley and requested it without even reading the description, although taking notice of a terrific cover. His sophomore effort, though, I didn't love as much. Thing is I normally don't enjoy white trash tales and Appalachia and its downtrodden residents hold no appeal whatsoever, but there the quality of writing in Where Light was so striking and the audio bo ...more
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David Joy is the author of the Edgar nominated novel Where All Light Tends to Go (Putnam, 2015), as well as the novels The Weight Of This World (Putnam, 2017), The Line That Held Us (Putnam, 2018), and When These Mountains Burn (Putnam, 2020). His memoir, Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey (Bright Mountain Books, 2011), was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Ol ...more

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