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The Gone Dead

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  23 reviews
An electrifying first novel from “a riveting new voice in American fiction” (George Saunders): A young woman returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father’s life and death

Billie James’s inheritance isn’t much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who die
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: June 25th 2019 by Ecco
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  65 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Billie James returns to the Mississippi Delta after a thirty year absence.  After her mother's recent death, she's inherited her father's old home that has set vacant for so long it's little more than a shack.  All that Billie knows is that when she was four years old her father Cliff was found dead in his front yard.  The police claim Cliff was intoxicated and died from a fall.  In 1970's Mississippi, that was as far as the investigation into a black man's death would go.

Billie has taken a shor
Jessica Woodbury
The Southern mystery with a strong sense of place is not a new genre, but it is a mostly white one. It's wonderful to see Chanelle Benz join the field with THE GONE DEAD, which feels like it belongs with other Mississippi-set modern work from writers like Jesmyn Ward and Kiese Laymon. Most would probably classify this as a "literary" crime novel, it has a slow pace and no big payoff, but once you get past the first few chapters it's quite addictive.

Billie James had an unusual childhood, taken fr
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
Full review to follow.
Paris (parisperusing)
If Jesmyn Ward and Gillian Flynn came together on a novel, it would surely look like this.

In Chanelle Benz's debut novel, The Gone Dead, one biracial woman's return to the Mississippi Delta threatens to unearth secrets of her father’s life and death which have long since been buried by a community wounded by racism. As the novel progresses, Benz proves just how little we've come in the way of siding with solidarity over inequality, and no one learns this lesson more than our poor protagonist, Bi
Nick Gardner
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chanelle Benz is a literary acrobat. Her writing style can be blunt or flowery. The prose flowed beautifully and this book was perfectly paced, quick to read, easy to understand, while still playing with words and colloquialism.
Knowing Benz from her short fiction, I had no idea for about half the book which way things were going to go. But then it got predictable. The final half of the book, the reader knows what happened, can easily guess what is going to happen, but I believe this is the poin
Elizabeth Willis
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, six-stars
Just when I leave the South, I'm suddenly in this trend of reading the best Southern fiction I've ever encountered. There's so much brilliance here.
Jan Thullen
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pub date 6/19 (ARC) 4-1/2 ⭐

Billie returns to her birthplace on the Mississippi Delta after 30 years away. After her father, a poet and activist, died in an apparent accidental fall, she lived with her mother, far away from what was left of her father’s family. The fact that she had been with her father on the night of his death is the first of many facts that had been concealed from her.

This is a compelling and immersive debut novel about family, secrets, race and persistence.
May 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ----

Dnf in the middle of p. 28, after trying 3 different times to get through this book. It's bloody awful. Literally from the 1st words I was rearranging these so-called sentences & paragraphs so they might make some type of sense. There's also random extraneous info. thrown in all over the place, & a complete lack of style. To further muddy the waters, the pronoun usage is sloppy & undelineated to the point of having

Brenda Scanzillo
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A slowly unwinding Southern mystery, I enjoyed The Gone Dead quite a bit - with some caveats. Benz’s story - Billie, in her 30s, inherits the house where her father died and she went briefly missing when she was four, and starts barking up the wrong white-supremacist tree as comes to believe her fathers death was not an accident and searches for the truth - was strong, as was the character development; I found myself really rooting for Billie and I loved most of the supporting characters (especi ...more
Apr 12, 2019 marked it as to-read
I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway!

Review to come soon.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I haven't read Chanelle's short story collection but after reading this, I think I need to go back and rectify that.
Chaya Nebel
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
This novel is a mix of a mystery/crime novel, with the protagonist trying to solve the mystery of what happened to her father 30 years ago, and an exploration of race in the deep south, with its abiding racism 30 years ago, with lingering effects into the present. It's a little slow moving, as Billie comes to terms with various issues. First there are family members she hasn't seen in ages, like uncles, cousins and so on. There are white people who knew her and her family so many years ago, who ...more
Dannie Davis Jr
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz (2019)

Billie James' inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn't been back to the South since.
 Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family wh
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Billie James is a unique protagonist. She is the daughter of a white woman who studied life in the Middle Ages and a black man who was a poet on the cutting edge of the late 1960s in the Mississippi delta area. Both her parents are deceased. Mom died more recently of a prolonged illness but Dad died years ago in Mississippi. Billie decides to leave Philadelphia to claim her inheritance….a bit of land and a falling apart shack in Mississippi.

When Billie returns she wants to discover exactly how h
3.5 Stars.

I listen to this as an audiobook and I suspect I should have read it as a printed book. They were parts that were so engrossing and just so well done that it made for a compelling read. The problem is how I listen to audiobooks, which is in short spurts and not for days at a time. Because of this, I know I missed some of the lovely writing since I’m paying attention to traffic instead of to the audio. Billie is grieving and trying to find out what happened to her long dead father in th
Caroline Williams
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Billie, a young biracial woman, has returned home, to the old house that was left to her. She happens to meet one of the locals (Jerry Hopsen) and after she introduces herself, he tells her he used to know her parents: that they all grew up together. He goes on to tell her that she went missing when her dad died and is glad they found her. This stumps her because she does not remember that at all. He also casts suspicion on her father's death as well. When she talks to her Uncle later, he dismis ...more
Mercedes Salazar
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

The Gone Dead was a great read, one that for me, took a while to realize its greatness.

This is a fault of my own, not the writer's, for the writing style, and the overall monologue of the book was rough for me at first. Though, it grew on me not too far after starting this read. The southern setting was deep, but it soon overtook me and drew me to places, and people, and emotion that i'd yet to be drawn too in a book before.

If you enjoy a quick read that
Norris Rettiger
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
The story itself might not have as much weight or intrigue as I was hoping, but the message is still clear, and clearly written: there’s no such thing as the past. We can try to pretend things are different, but the past never changes, and it never goes away, and that means some things need a reckoning. So, cheers to the coming reckoning: may it be one of love and furious anger, burdened and empowered by the dead who refuse to die.

Looking forward to whatever Chanelle Benz writes next.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked this up as an ARC and I'm glad I did. It's the story of what home means and returning to complicated family histories that also bear the weight of capital-h History. It's the story of a daughter come home to come to terms with family legacy and memory.
May 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
My friend won an ARC &, at my request, left her copy for me once she'd finished it. Had she been around for me to ask about the book, she could have saved me the time of bothering at all. This was a dnf in the 2nd chapter. So much for that.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full review to come.
Charles Tatum
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: do-not-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julia Arenstam
rated it really liked it
Jun 15, 2019
rated it really liked it
May 12, 2019
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Jan 05, 2019
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May 07, 2019
rated it liked it
May 19, 2019
rated it did not like it
Jan 16, 2019
RainbowDash 86(Y)
rated it it was amazing
Jun 14, 2019
Kayla Carrillo
rated it it was ok
Jan 27, 2019
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "The Gone Dead" by Chanelle Benz 2 14 Dec 31, 2018 03:25AM  

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