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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,627 ratings  ·  666 reviews

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

Hardcover, 484 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Simon Schuster
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Mitch Davidson I am from Mount Vernon, Ohio- Markley renamed the town, Apple Valley Lake, and even the town mascot. However, many places such as the roads are not…moreI am from Mount Vernon, Ohio- Markley renamed the town, Apple Valley Lake, and even the town mascot. However, many places such as the roads are not renamed. (less)

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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,627 ratings  ·  666 reviews

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Susanne Strong
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: must-read, favorites
4 Stars.

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
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ohio by Stephen Markley is a 2018 Simon & Schuster publication.

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
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

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

4.5 Stars

”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

“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
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everything in life depends on the decisions that you make, some more important than others. Sometimes the most innocuous decision has the greatest ramifications and effect on our lives.
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
Julie Ehlers
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Where to begin! At the beginning, I guess. Ohio is a sprawling novel that’s divided into four sections, each told from the point of view of one of four high school classmates all reappearing in their hometown of New Canaan, Ohio, on a night ten years after their graduation. The first section, centering on an addict and left-wing activist named Bill Ashcraft, is one of the most overwritten things I’ve ever read. (I’ll include some choice passages at the end of my review.) The vast array of adject ...more
Stephen Markley’s first fiction book, OHIO, is definitely not for the faint of heart. Having written previous non-fiction books, Markley undertakes an ambitious project writing about a rural, Northeaster, Ohio town suffering from the Great Recession, the opioid crisis and the after-effects of 9/11.

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
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Riding back
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
Sorry that
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
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Ohio” is fiction that probes issues that have received a lot of news attention the past two years - marginalization, loss of hope, disillusionment, economic decline, and drug addiction in middle America. The personal fallout is seen through the eyes of four main characters in their twenties, with flashbacks to their high school years, who unexpectedly reunite one fateful night in New Canaan, Ohio. By examining these issues through fiction, where individual experiences and emotions are at the fo ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Ohio by Stephen Markley is the story of a Rust Belt town and the people who live in it. Markley is the author of the memoir Publish This Book: The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book and the travelogue Tales of Iceland.

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
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The setting for this gritty novel is New Canaan, Ohio, a small town in northeast Ohio, hard hit by the economic downturn, whose major industries are long gone and the biggest employer is Walmart.

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
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“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
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
This seems to be one of the buzziest books of the season, but it did NOTHING for me. It seems to be pretty standard Literary White Guy™ fare: kind of dry and self-indulgent. So I'm abandoning it halfway through.
Donna Davis
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that love excellent fiction.
Markley’s thunderous debut is not to be missed. My thanks go to Simon and Schuster and Net Galley for the review copy, which I read free and early, but this is one of the rare times I can say that if I’d paid full hardcover price, it would have been worth it. This is the summer’s best fiction, and it’s available to the public August 21, 2018.

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
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book touched on all the crises of our times - the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism and violence against America, the opiod crisis, the recession that devastated the country, and more. At once it is a mystery but also a slice of life for today. I found it totally engrossing and it had an ending I didn't see coming. The writing is very descriptive and puts you in the scene so that you can see the character interaction. The description of the characters in high school were spot-on.

Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Four classmates come back to the hometown of New Canaan one summer. Bill Ashcraft is an alcoholic and drug abuser and has completely lost his way. Stacey Moore comes back to confront the mother of her former girlfriend. Dan Eaton is a veteran of the Afghanistan War and has never forgotten his first love. Tina Ross has something to settle with the former captain of the football team. There are actually four novellas in this book, each involving one of the above characters and all interacting with ...more
lucky little cat
Feb 08, 2019 marked it as that-s-enough
Recommends it for: masochists & Tournament of Books Longlist completists
Recommended to lucky little cat by: The 2019 Tournament of Books Longlist
DNF with strong opinions at chapter 1.

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
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: available
I must preface my comments by acknowledging that reviewers whose opinions I respect really, really, really liked this,and I wanted to really, really, really like it too, but it just wasn't for me.

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."
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I made myself finish Ohio by Stephen Markley. It is well written, beautiful writing at times, and the characters are well drawn and the theme timely and the plot is part a mystery and part a character study of a whole cadre of classmates.

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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This novel is set in a small town in northeastern Ohio, where four friends return home in 2013 and find there are ongoing ripples and consequences from their schooldays. The author gets small town midwestern culture right and writes deeply about the individual characters. This could practically be a quartet of character study novels.

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
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book is gritty, real, and will hit you hard like a gut punch. All the stars for this one.
Kasa Cotugno
This is the kind of totally immersive novel that can keep you up at night. One night in 2013, four former classmates find themselves once more in New Canaan, Ohio, or as they call it, The Cane. Their reasons differ, but each is afforded a novella-length section for their story to be told in overlapping precise detail. Stephen Markley has written two other books, but this is his first novel, and as with many journalists, his prose is clear, incisive and totally involving. Despite its length, ther ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: d-n-f, read-netgalley

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.
Loring Wirbel
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is quite an achievement for a debut novel, though the despair of growing up in a small town in the Midwest as Markley pictures it is unrelenting. In the case of Ohio, the despair is not just the singular sort of "lives of quiet desperation" strung out on opioids, but a broader despair that pulls many of its characters toward crimes against their friends, and even against humanity, making the book downright horrific in the end. But that factor is exactly what prevents the book from being awa ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 stars

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
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
BookExpo Adult Editor’s Buzz 2018

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
Janelle • She Reads with Cats
Thank you so much Simon and Schuster for providing my free copy of OHIO by Stephen Markley - all opinions are my own.

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
Jamele (BookswithJams)
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
This one. Not for the faint of heart. And I most certainly needed this Pinot to get through the end.
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
Sandra Van
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not an Ohioan myself but I can so relate to the story. Even details aside, I think many of these scenes are relatable also in other states and foreign western countries. Must believe Stephen Marley will have a major breakthrough with this book - as a fictional writer, I mean. Many thanks for constructing this narrative in a relatable and honest manner. Important storyline and details. Thanks.
The Great Recession, wars and political unrest left scars on the town of New Canaan, an unremarkable and stagnant town trapped in a gridlock of apathy and economic loss. New Canaan became a living ghost town, its inhabitants shells of empty potential.

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
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Stephen Markley's debut novel "Ohio" will be published in August of 2018 by Simon and Schuster.

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,, The Iowa Review, Chicago's RedEye, The Week, The Chicago Tribune, The Ru
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“The history had already been written. What is history but an adjudication of memory. And what is memory but a faithless rendering of all sex, death, justice, murder, prayer, greed, hope, mercy, and love. Memory was as molten as the soul.” 3 likes
“Life itself has become the final disposable, exploitable resource. We will do anything. Level whole mountains, erase whole species, relocate mighty rivers, burn forests to the ground, change the pH of the water, blanket ourselves in toxic chemistry. It took two million years for our species just to stand up and only five hundred to do the rest. Our culture is one of abundance, of entitlement, and basically little else. We've put our birthright at risk because we don't know how to control ourselves. Our lust.” 3 likes
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