Destined to be a classic, Sweeping Up Glass is a tough and tender novel of love, race, and justice, and a ferocious, unflinching look at the power of family.
Olivia Harker Cross owns a strip of mountain in Pope County, Kentucky, a land where whites and blacks eke out a living in separate, tattered kingdoms and where silver-faced wolves howl in the night. But someone is killing the wolves of Big Foley Mountainand Olivia is beginning to realize how much of her own bitter history shes never understood: Her mothers madness, building toward a fiery crescendo. Her daughters flight to California, leaving her to raise Willm, her beloved grandson. And most of all, her towns fear, for Olivia has real and dangerous enemies.
Now this proud, lonely woman will face her mother and daughter, her neighbors and the wolf hunters of Big Foley Mountain. And when she does, shell ignite a conflict that will embroil an entire communityand change her own life in the most astonishing of ways.
Fifty-three BookBrowse members reviewed this book for "First Impressions", with forty-seven rating it 4 or 5 out of 5 stars – one of our highest ratings to date. This is what they say… Sweeping Up Glass definitely 'swept me up' from the very first page (Linda G)... You will fall in love with the unusual cast of characters, share their loves, losses and pain, and eventually be swept into a fast paced race to a conclusion that you cannot possibly have imagined (Beth P). It's a great choice for book clubs, lots of 'hidden secrets' and issues for discussion (Linda G). Read all the First Impressions Reviews(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
O, The Oprah Magazine
Haunting, lyrical, entirely absorbing, Sweeping Up Glass deserves a place on the shelf next to classics like True Grit and To Kill A Mockingbird. Carolyn Wall is a brilliant storyteller and this book is a wonderful read
The Boston Globe
This extraordinary debut novel, both a "what happened" and a "whodunit," explores survival and the guilt that can accompany it. The writing is filled with arresting images, bitter humor, and characters with palpable physical presence. The fresh voice of that clear-eyed narrator reminded me of Scout in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I literally could not put it down.
Wall gives her heroine a powerful voice in this haunting debut.
This debut novel does so much more than traditional, tightly focused mysteries. It has a powerfully, sometimes uncomfortably, realized setting; characters who seem drawn from life; and a wide-ranging plot, bursting with complications ... A gripping story and a truly original voice.
Starred Review. As the action moves inexorably to its explosive conclusion, Olivia must come to grips with past betrayals, thereby earning a second chance at love, redemption and long overdue justice.
Starred Review. The suspense is gripping, the danger is very real, and the reader gets caught up in Wall's powerful, moving debut. Highly recommended for all collections.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Fran Sweeping Up Glass I enjoyed the book. I read it while I was on vacation, (accompanied by one husband, six children and six grandchildren). But I found it to be an interesting "discussion" of a period of time we know about but may not have been aware of... Read More
Rated of 5
by Bonnie Thought provoking and more This is a "must read." I agree with other reviewers that it was hard to get into at first, but later realized that I needed that background to understand the rest. I am recommending it to my friends. Carolyn Wall really tells a story;... Read More
Rated of 5
by Marti finding answers This was a remarkable story that dragged you into it almost from the beginning. It takes place in Pope County, Kentucky during the depression with all the tensions of poverty and racism during that time. For the main character, Olivia, life is not... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sharon Sweeping Up Glass When I first started reading the book, I wasn't sure that I would like it. After I got into it a little more, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt like I was living there with them. Everyone involved had a very hard life. It almost read like a... Read More
Rated of 5
by Joan Sweeping Glass I wasn't sure I was going to like this story but after a few pages, I was hooked. I actually could not put it down. The more I read the more I liked it. This was a great read. The story of Olivia in old Kentucky leading a very hard life - many... Read More
Rated of 5
by Barbara A simple story with a simple truth Every once in a while a fictional character becomes so real you care about what happens. A simple story with a simple truth like the original Shall We Dance or Dear Frankie makes for a great story.
When I sink into a book and let the world... Read More
Carolyn Wall describes Sweeping Up Glass as "fifty percent truth, and fifty percent based on fact. The other fifty percent (which speaks of my math skills) is flat made-up."
When I was born, we lived over a grocery store in Toronto. My father built crates in an alley for Canada Box, and sold meat pies from the basket of his bicycle. With my mother gone off to a small private hospital for shock treatments, we moved into rooms at the top of Grammas house. On Sunday evenings, Dad dismantled my crib, roped it to the top of the car, and threw all the baby things in back. Then he laid me on the seat beside him and drove around Toronto, looking for an aunt and uncle to take me. In a relatives house, hed set up my crib and kiss me good-bye.
To help support us, and to pay the doctor and hospital bills, he worked three nights a week building radios and record players for RCA Victor. He visited my mother in the hospital and took a Wednesday-night electronics class in the back room of a Chinese restaurant.
The Pulitzer Prizewinning author of All Over but the Shoutin continues his personal history of the Deep South with an evocation of his mothers childhood in the Appalachian foothills during the Great Depression, and the magnificent story of the man who raised her.
'Combining an unerring instinct for telling detail with the broader brushstrokes you need to tackle issues of culture and politics, Patchett creates a remarkably compelling chronicle of a multinational group of the rich and powerful held hostage for months.'
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