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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  6,689 ratings  ·  1,345 reviews
One sweltering night in 2013, four former high school classmates converge on their hometown in northeastern Ohio.

There’s Bill Ashcraft, a passionate, drug-abusing young activist whose flailing ambitions have taken him from Cambodia to Zuccotti Park to post-BP New Orleans, and now back home with a mysterious package strapped to the undercarriage of his truck; Stacey Moore,
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 re…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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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  6,689 ratings  ·  1,345 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. Four h
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
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
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
fulfilling my 2020 goal to read (at least) one book each month that was given to me as a present that i haven't yet gotten around to reading because i am an ungrateful dick.

it took me six days to get through this book. it took four days just to get past the first fifty pages and two days to get to page 20. In fact, i considered grabbing a different book to meet my “unread present” monthly task, worried that i wouldn’t be able to finish this one’s nearly-500 pages before the end of the month. eve

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
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
Chelsea Humphrey
After chatting with a friend in great detail, I've decided to cut my losses and DNF this one. I totally respect what the author is trying to do here, but this one just isn't for me, and if I had pushed through, I would have been wholly dissatisfied.

*Many thanks to the publisher for my finished review copy.
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 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 s
Jessica Jeffers
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.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“I’m doing my best to keep moving forward, to keep happy.”

Well…I picked this text for my book club. I already know they are going to hate me. I kinda hate myself now. “Ohio” sounded interesting to me the moment it came on my radar. However, it was highly recommended by NPR’s reviewer, and EVERY time I read a book they recommend I don’t like it. When will I learn...NPR does not know books.
The “Prelude” to “Ohio” is good. A little too "I have an MFA in writing", but still the writing is tight, th
Bam cooks the books ;-)
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 abou
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
Nov 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Wow... I really disliked Ohio. I know this book has gotten a lot of love, and I don't want this to be a total hate-fest, but.... here are the things that bothered me.

1) I found Ohio tedious; when one of his characters would go off on a philosophical tangent, I always got the sneaking suspicion that it was really one of Markley's own tangents that he'd looked for a way to shoehorn into the narrative. His characters (i.e. Markley) also name-dropped so many important books, it felt like he just wa
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.

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
Chavelli Sulikowska
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a story about the demise of modern middle America and it is frightening. This book was a lot darker and more nefarious than I expected. A warning to readers: there is strong themes of domestic violence, drug abuse, rape, racism, mental illness and murder. As if this is not confronting enough, there is an overall depressive and desperate tone to the novel. It is heavy – heavy with emotion and tragedy and a deep sense of hopelessness.

Sexuality, including homosexuality and race, particular
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 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
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
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 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.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, october-2018
I am genuinely baffled by the glowing reviews of this one; like, baffled that there is even one positive review of this anywhere. A crazy thing about this book is that it feels overwritten and incredibly lazy at the same time. You can go to just about any page to find an example of the overwriting so I won’t bother with that, but the structure of this book is so badly done. The story here is how a bunch of people who went to high school together cross paths on a fateful night about ten years lat ...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.
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
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
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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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Stephen Markley's novel, Ohio , follows four former classmates in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mar...
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“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.” 9 likes
“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.” 5 likes
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