Hard Red Spring: Book summary and reviews of Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney

Hard Red Spring

by Kelly Kerney

Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney X
Hard Red Spring by Kelly Kerney
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2016
    448 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

An ambitious and unforgettable epic novel that spans a hundred years of Guatemala's tumultuous history as experienced by four American women who are linked by the mysterious disappearance of a little girl.

In 1902, a young girl watches her family's life destroyed by corrupt officials and inscrutable natives. In 1954, the wife of the American ambassador becomes trapped in the intrigue of a cold war love affair. In 1983, an evangelical missionary discovers that the Good News may not be good news at all to the Mayan refugees she hopes to save. And in 1999, the mother of an adopted Mayan daughter embarks on a Roots Tour only to find that the history she seeks is not safely in the past.

Kelly Kerney's novel tells a powerful story that draws on the history of Guatemala and the legacy of American intervention to vividly evoke The Land of Eternal Spring in all its promise and all its devastating failures. This is a place where a volcano erupts and the government sends a band to drown out the sound of destruction; where a government decree reverses the direction of one-way streets; a president decides that Pat Robertson and Jesus will save the country; and where a UN commission is needed to determine the truth. A heartrending and masterfully written look at a country in perpetual turmoil, Hard Red Spring brilliantly reveals how the brutal realities of history play out in the lives of individuals and reveals Guatemala in a manner reminiscent of the groundbreaking memoir I, Rigoberta Menchu.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Kerney] sensitively and skillfully interweaves...disparate stories into one in which the women, both Mayan and American, continue to matter; where the men - ­husbands, dictators and soldiers on both sides of the various conflicts - are portrayed in unflinching terms; and where hope is a virtually nonexistent commodity." - Library Journal

"Weighed down by simplistic writing, this ambitious novel's reach exceeds its grasp." - Kirkus

"Kelly Kerney's Hard Red Spring is that rare thing: a generations-spanning thriller with a political conscience. And Kerney is herself a rare thing: a novelist who has a terrific sense of humor and craft, but who also has a sense of what has gone wrong in this world, and whether any of us will ever be able to put it right again." - Brock Clarke, author of The Happiest People in the World

"In Hard Red Spring, Kelly Kerney brings a sharp satirical sensibility balanced with compassion that gives real insight into a generational tale of Guatemala and the way historical and human forces can combine with unexpected cruelties to test all that is human about us." - Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas and The Virgin of Flames

"Kelly Kerney is a powerful storyteller, and the challenging border crossings she undertakes as a writer result in many moving perceptions and insights." - Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name

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Author Information

Kelly Kerney

Kelly Kerney's first novel, Born Again, was listed among the best debuts of the year by Kirkus Reviews, was a Book Sense Pick, and was recognized by the New York Public Library as one of the best books of 2006. A Virginia Commission for the Arts fellowship recipient, she lives in Richmond, Virginia.

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