Cheri's Reviews > The Line That Held Us

The Line That Held Us by David    Joy
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2018, arc, netgalley, grit-lit, north-carolina, american-southern, appalachia


”I got friends who know how to have a good time
They roll their own and drink carolina shine
I’ve seen the devil in a dark coal mine
I’ve been higher than a Georgia pine

“Yeah there’s people all across the land
From New York out to ol’ San Fran
Just don’t give a damn all the time
In an outlaw state of mind”

--“Outlaw State of Mind,” Chris Stapleton, Songwriters: Ronnie Bowman / Chris Stapleton / Jerry Salley

4.5 Stars

Even though it was two months before the official hunting season began, Darl Moody was going hunting. He’d had his eye on that buck for a good two years, and by the size of him, he’d feed his family for a while on that one.

”Meat in the freezer was meat that didn’t have to be bought and paid for, and that came to mean a lot when the work petered off each winter.”

He follows signs of the deer’s path, the stripped bark, the scrapes on the ground, sipping from his pint of whiskey he had stashed in his camouflage pants, and listened for movement, waiting.

When he hears the snap of wood under a footstep, he turns to sees a gray-bodied animal on four legs, probably a boar hog, low to the ground.

”Three. Two. Squeeze.”

Darl Moody loves his family, helps out his mother when he can, and his sister and her family, too. He has a girlfriend he treats well, but they are far from rich. Simple, everyday folk, just trying to get from day to day with enough to get by on, and spend time with those they love. With this story, I think the less you know about it going in, the better it is, so I’m staying away from more of the plot.

This does to have a dark side to it; there are some disturbing descriptions included, but nothing that I found objectionable or gratuitous.

David Joy is one of my favourite authors for this genre, call it what you will. Southern Lit, Grit-Lit, Country-Noir, there are a plethora of categories that are variations on a theme. I’ve read all of his books, including his memoir, and loved them all. Some of my other favourite authors and their books came from a list of recommended books he used to have on his goodreads page, Taylor Brown, for one.

I read Joy’s “review” of this book, where he said that he “wanted to write a book as if William Gay and Flannery O'Connor co-wrote McCarthy's Child Of God. I wanted to create a "bad guy" as memorable as Lester Ballard, The Misfit, or the Paper-Hanger. This was as close as I could get to that.” I’ve only read one book by William Gay, several of Flannery O’Connor’s stories, and one McCarthy – although it was not his “Child of God,” but it seems to me that this hits the mark he was striving for.

David Joy is an incredibly gifted writer with a talent for weaving just enough darkness through his stories that you will feel every second tick by as the tension mounts, knowing that all it may take is just one small thing to change the course of this story.

Ask yourself what you would do for those you love, the people in your life that mean the most to you, and read this!

Pub Date: 14 AUG 2018

Many thanks for the ARC provided by PENGUIN GROUP Putnam / G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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Reading Progress

October 23, 2017 – Shelved
July 18, 2018 – Started Reading
July 18, 2018 –
July 18, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 87 (87 new)

message 1: by Svetlana (new)

Svetlana what a wonderful review Cheri :) enjoyed your review

message 2: by Deanna (new) - added it

Deanna Excellent review!!!

message 3: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Fabulous review, Cheri. Loved those closing paragraphs.

Meredith Awesome review, Cheri! You have me so excited to read this!

message 5: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi Splendid review, Cheri! And very enticing ;) I've not yet read anything by David Joy, but you've convinced me I must!

message 6: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Crytzer Fry Oh, Cheri - great review! You know how much I love Taylor Brown's writing, so I may need to get to this one sooner than later!

message 7: by Debbie (new) - added it

Debbie Fantastic review. Is there animal cruelty or animal death? If so, I’ll have to pass.

message 8: by Bianca (new) - added it

Bianca Splendid review, Cheri. I guess I have to add it.

message 9: by Katie (new)

Katie Great review, Cheri. Love the eloquent warmth of your enthusiasm.

Angela M Cheri , wonderful review and 5 stars ! I thought this might not be for me but now that I’ve read your review I think it might be!

Lindsay - Traveling Sister Wonderful review Cheri! I have this one waiting for me and am really looking forward to it after reading your fantastic review!! So happy to see your 5 stars! 😊

Zoeytron Terrific review, Cheri. I've just started it and I'm already all in.

message 13: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen You have me curious, Cheri! Great review!

message 14: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Ooh wonderful review Cheri, now you have me intrigued! Looking forward to reading, adding! X☺️

message 15: by Holly (new)

Holly  B I'm intrigued from this review Cheri!

message 16: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Really nice, Cheri!

Cheri Thanks so much, Candi, I would recommend you begin with his "Where All Light Tends to Go," which is still my favourite of his books.

Cheri Thank you, Melissa, (and you know how much I love Taylor Brown's writing, too!) I think you will love this, but I can't remember if you've ever read any of his books. If not, I'd recommend you begin with his debut novel, but I have loved all of his books.

Cheri Debbie, this is really more about man-to-man cruelty / death, but I don't recall anything animal cruelty or death other than a rat, and in that case it was to protect another from the rat. I could elaborate a little bit on that if you like, but send me a PM if you do.

Cheri Thanks so much, Bianca, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Cheri Thank you so much, Katie!

Cheri Thanks so much, Angela! I loved David Joy's writing, his ability to spin these tales that take me right to the edge of my seat and then reel me back in. I think if you love Taylor Brown, you'd love David Joy. He's also fishing buddies with Ron Rash, another author he looks up to, if that helps.

Cheri Thank you, Lindsay, I'm looking forward to your review! Hope you get a chance to read this one SOON!

Cheri Zoey!! I'm so happy to hear that you're reading this now and "already all in!" Can't wait to see your thoughts on this one!

Cheri Thanks so much, Jen!

Cheri Thank you, Tammy, this is as wonderful as his others, but I suspect that you will love this one! X☺️

Cheri Thanks so much, Holly!

Cheri Thank you, Tammy!

Cheri Thanks so much, Svetlana!

Cheri Thank you, Deanna!

Cheri Thanks so much, Mike, I'm glad you enjoyed!

Cheri Thanks, Meredith, I think you would really enjoy this!

message 33: by Liz (last edited Jul 19, 2018 11:13AM) (new) - added it

Liz Great review, Cheri. Your paragraph about how Joy weaves in the darkness and mounting tension - that's right up my alley. Adding!

Cheri Thank you, Liz, I think you will really enjoy this one, I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on it!

message 35: by Supratim (new)

Supratim Great review, Cheri!

message 36: by Ron (new) - added it

Ron Your review is good news for me Cheri (and so well written) because although I've only read the one David Joy story, I keep him on my to-read list. Thanks for the fine review.

Cheri Thanks so much, Supratim!

Cheri Ron, thank you so much! This is closer to The Weight of This World than it was to Where All Light Tends to Go, and I closer to TWoTW in intensity, so since you enjoyed that, you should, at least, enjoy this. I do hope you get a chance to read this one, Ron.

message 39: by Julie (new)

Julie I don't even know this author! How can I keep up??

Cheri Julie, I don't know what to tell you... this author came to my attention years ago, I think after reading Ron Rash and one or maybe two Wiley Cash books, but I'm not sure. I can't even remember how I happened on his debut 'Where All Light Tends to Go' but I was hooked once I read it! Aside from those two authors, he falls into a category where I'd put Taylor Brown and Michael Farris Smith. There is more than a dash of Cormac McCarthy to his writing and style. I'm not sure you *can* keep up with all the 'new' books from every author!

message 41: by Julie (last edited Jul 19, 2018 01:29PM) (new)

Julie I'm intrigued by what you've written about this author, AND overwhelmed by my 1,000++ TBR! I think that's why I've become ruthless about abandoning books that aren't pulling me in by page 5!

Cheri Julie, I am not even sure what my TBR is at anymore, it just keeps growing and periodically I remove one or two and then within a short time have added one or two more... I need to be better about abandoning books, myself. This book that I reviewed is relatively short, if that helps, but if you're on the fence you should probably wait for more reviews!

message 43: by Julie (new)

Julie Cheri,
Short always helps!!

Karen Dearest Cheri, you really wrote a fantastic review for this one! So intriguing that I know that I must read this. Atmospheric is a character that you have captured well. Great Job and I am so happy you had the chance to get an author you love. This sounds like something in the same vein as "The Signal Flame." Outstanding!

Cheri Thank you so much, Karen, this is a bit darker than 'The Signal Flame' but I would put it in the same category as Ron Rash's books, Michael Farris Smith, Taylor Brown... but if you haven't read any of his books yet, let me know! I'm hoping that we will hear something sooner than later about the next book from Andrew Krivak, though, too!

message 46: by Louise (new)

Louise Wilson Great review, Cheri!!

Cheri Thanks so much, Louise!

message 48: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana Joy is a good Grit-Lit author. I enjoyed WALTTG and still think of it. I couldn’t get into the other but need to try again and add this one! Thanks for sharing, Cheri! Nice review!

Heather Ragan I believe he has his own Lester Ballard in this one. That's where my mind kept going.

Angela M Read your review again and had to go get a copy . I was able to download immediately from Edelweiss. :) Have so many to read and review so not sure when I’ll get to it .

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