The debut of a major talent; a lyrical and emotional novel set in an archetypal small town in northeastern Ohio—a region ravaged by the Great Recession, an opioid crisis, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—depicting one feverish, fateful summer night in 2013 when four former classmates converge on their hometown, each with a mission, all haunted by the ghosts of their sh...more
Four former friends converge on the town they grew up in: New Canaan, Ohio. Bound together for better or worse, each have their own reasons for returning and each person’s story intertwines in a way that is dark, evocative and simply jaw-dropping.
This town is desolate, depressed and ravaged by war. They have nothing to give, except for their opinions and those are in abundance. Alcohol and drugs run rampant with addiction on the rise. People drive cars that are 20 years old, dealerships ...more
New Canaan, Ohio
The Rust Belt-
By now the plight of those living in a what is commonly known as ‘The Rust Belt", is etched into our consciousness. A marginalized area simmering in hostility, hammered by a stubborn economic depression, and an unprecedented epidemic opiate crisis.
This atmosphere is more in the forefront than in the background as Stephen Markley captures the mentality of those born and raised in this environment. Fo ...more
I picked this up because someone compared it to The Big Chill, one of my favorite movies of all time. The book starts with a prelude, a stream of consciousness narrative during a parade in memory of Rick, who was killed Iraq. The book then jumps 6 years to 2013.
Then it divides into four parts, each told from the perspective of a different character returning home for their own reasons. But each was a school mate of the others and have a history from those days.
The writing here is gorgeous. I r ...more
”Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
“Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolat ...more
Ohio by Stephen Markley is a fictional account of a town that prosperity has forgotten. New Canaan, Ohio is a town where the effects of war, drugs, suicide, unemployment and a host of other epidemic problems have left it without hope.
New Canaan represents what has befallen Ohio and so many Midwestern rust belt tow ...more
OHIO centers around the story of four high school friends who are reunited a decade after their graduation. It also circles around the story of one of those friends who was killed in Iraq. In fact, the ...more
To where the highway met
Dead end tracks
The ground is now cement and glass
And far away
Heal her soul, carry her, my angel, Ohio
Green green youth
What about the sweetness we knew
What about what's good what's true
From those days
Can't count to
All the lovers I've burned through
So why do I still burn for you
I can't say
I could never love you back
I could never care enough in these last days
Heal her soul, carry her, my angel, Ohio" – Carry Me Ohio- Lyrics by Mark Kozelek
I’m not sur ...more
Growing up and living in Cleveland, I remember the tail end of the 1960s, 1970s, and the early 1980s, before leaving for the Marines. I can recall the culture and impending doom that Ohio brings out. The industry-based economy had been stumb ...more
The heroes of the town have been the high school football players who could pretty much get away with anything...and often do. But these kids seem to be cursed: one commits suicide; one OD's and accidentally sets fire to his apartment building, killing a couple of newlyweds; one dies serving his country ...more
“You haven’t heard of The Murder That Never Was?”
Starting off 2019 with a 5 Star read got me like . . . . .
Go read my friend Liz’s review because that’s how I heard about Ohio in the first place and she says everything that needs to be said. (And I totally agree with the negative points of her critique, but somehow I was able to overlook every one of this novel’s flaws when it came to my rating.)
As the blurb says, Ohio is about one ...more
Our story is broken into a prelude and four additional parts, each assigned to a different protagonist, all of whom knew one another, traveling separately ...more
Drat you, Stephen Markley. Your prose is that of the MFA program male wunderkind, endlessly head-patted for your showboating
This calls for a strong dose of Bruce Springsteen's butt
in creative writing seminars. In your faux-elegiac opening chapter of Ohio you shamelessly ape Faulkner's style of exhaustively cataloguing telling details, but you reject any instinct for Faulknerian analysis. What emerges is satirical, condescending, and merciless.
Back away fro ...more
Beautifully written, but, IMHO, often overwritten. Also, IMHO, the v repetitive "speechifying" from the right and the left overshadowed the story, and it also gave me eye strain (not usually a problem with an audio book) from looking skyward, tsking, and thinking -"Oh f%@k, here we go again."
But it is dark, gruesome, shocking, and violent, the characters struggling with horrible situations and issues. I stopped reading it several times. I was sure I was going to walk away, unwilling to spend more time with these broken people.
And when I finally did ...more
If I had a final copy I would put a bunch of quotes here because I found myself marking pages frequently.
Thanks to the publisher for approving my ARC request in Ede ...more
I really wanted to like this book. Being from Northeast Ohio, I was so excited and thought I’d relate to this book but unfortunately I couldn’t get through this book. I made it to around 50% through and couldn’t get into the characters or the writing style. This book just wasn’t for me.
Special thanks to NetGalley for allowing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is an interesting debut novel.
This books is a story about four late-twenties people who are tortured by their past. They came from a small town in Ohio nicknamed “The Cane” for New Canaan, Ohio. They are trying to forge a future for themselves.
The town itself has suffered hard times for quite a while. From the Great Depression to drug wars and, lately, the banking crisis with its attendant foreclosures and evictions; these all play a part in the story. The people who live there see ...more
This is my kind of storytelling. It's gritty and real and honest and dark. Shit happens, high school shit that carries on into lives beyond. Some move on and forget, but most do not and haunted they are. I'm making this sound like a thriller but it's not at all, this is real life and it is pretty f**ed up and I loved it.
This book is going to have some lovers as well as haters. I think many of my goodreads and bookish friends will not enjoy this book and we will d ...more
This book essentially reads like four novellas strung together by a common thread of place and time. It’s an incredibly brilliant, concordantly constructed debut that I cannot stop thinking about.
The place is OHIO and the time is post-9/11, where Markley brings to life the twenty-something-year-old characters affected by the death of their friend Rick, who was killed in Iraq. In t ...more
But man, it is gripping, gritty, sad, and well worth the time. I just finished and it will definitely be on my mind for weeks to come.
I had heard good things but seriously had no idea what I was about to read. This is a bit of a look-back on high school life in small town Ohio, as four former classmates return to their hometown for different reasons one summer evening. The book is told in four p ...more
Four former classmates will come together once again, each with their own baggage, heartaches, shortcomings and histories of time spent away from their hometown. Their stories are chaotic, dark and their souls are lost in disillusionment. (Did they ...more
Markley is the author of the memoir "Publish This Book: The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book" (2010) and the travelogue "Tales of Iceland."
His work has appeared in Paste Magazine, Slate.com, The Iowa Review, Chicago's RedEye, The Week, The Chicago Tribune, The Ru ...more