Heather Miller's Reviews > A Mighty Word

A Mighty Word by Joshua Rex
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2021

A small, dying town. A greedy company dumping toxic waste. A young man still grieving his father. And a cemetery of reanimated corpses.

What is this book? Is it horror? The undead would certainly suggest that. They're brought back to life through the power of chemical sludge, though, so...science fiction? The truth is, there's a little soft horror and a bit of science fiction here, but this book is so much more. It's philosophy and history and a love song to old houses and simpler ways of doing things. It's bordering on a coming-of-age story. It's beautiful.

Joshua Rex blew me away with the quality of writing in his debut collection, 'What's Coming for You', and he has done it again with this new novel. He paints the picture of this sad little town perfectly. You can tell from his writing that he is a man who loves and appreciates the old, slow way of doing things and the beauty of true craftsmanship. His undead are sympathetic creatures, not horrors, despite their rotting flesh and mud-caked rags. His imperfect hero struggles between love for the past and the necessity of living in the present and I suspect that perhaps this is something Rex himself has to do in his own life (I know I do).

A Mighty Word does many things. It shows that the greatest monsters are, as usual, people doing bad things to other people. It allows us to dwell for a bit in overgrown graveyards, abandoned houses, the quiet places of the mind. It sings the glories of old houses, old books, old ideals. It looks to the future and asks the question: is there no value in now? (The answer, as one character suggests: "Perhaps the point is not to rail against what you don't like, but to find a way to live amongst it in a way that doesn't compromise your own beliefs.")

So, horror of the most beautiful kind: philosophical, existential, thought-provoking. That's how I'm going to classify this book.

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Reading Progress

June 15, 2021 – Started Reading
June 15, 2021 – Shelved
June 16, 2021 –
page 0
June 16, 2021 – Shelved as: 2021
June 16, 2021 – Finished Reading

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