Gods of Howl Mountain: Book summary and reviews of Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown

Gods of Howl Mountain

by Taylor Brown

Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown X
Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    304 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

In Gods of Howl Mountain, award-winning author Taylor Brown explores a world of folk healers, whiskey-runners, and dark family secrets in the high country of 1950s North Carolina.

Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood - a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg and haunted by memories of the Korean War, Rory runs bootleg whiskey for a powerful mountain clan in a retro-fitted '40 Ford coupe. Between deliveries to roadhouses, brothels, and private clients, he lives with his formidable grandmother, evades federal agents, and stokes the wrath of a rival runner.

In the mill town at the foot of the mountains - a hotbed of violence, moonshine, and the burgeoning sport of stock-car racing - Rory is bewitched by the mysterious daughter of a snake-handling preacher. His grandmother, Maybelline "Granny May" Docherty, opposes this match for her own reasons, believing that "some things are best left buried." A folk healer whose powers are rumored to rival those of a wood witch, she concocts potions and cures for the people of the mountains while harboring an explosive secret about Rory's mother - the truth behind her long confinement in a mental hospital, during which time she has not spoken one word. When Rory's life is threatened, Granny must decide whether to reveal what she knows...or protect her only grandson from the past.

With gritty and atmospheric prose, Taylor Brown brings to life a perilous mountain and the family who rules it.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Brown has quickly established himself in the top echelon of Southern writers, and his latest will please readers of Wiley Cash and Ron Rash." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Not to be missed, this bold, dark, gritty novel is another coup for Brown, whose lyrical descriptions of the landscape only add to the captivating story of indomitable but isolated folks bound by folklore, tradition, and a hardscrabble life." - Library Journal

"Powerful...explosive...This tale of loyalty and retribution will linger with readers." - Publishers Weekly

"A fresh, authentic, and eloquent new voice in American fiction." - Robert Morgan, New York Times bestselling author of Gap Creek

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Reader Reviews

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lani

A whopping good time
LOVED THIS!. Taylor Brown is a new author for me, but his incredible characters burst with sparks. They were so alive, full fleshed and gritty, coloring the landscape of North Carolina with a delicious decor. Rory Docherty returns home from Korea, minus one leg, to the back hills of NC where he lives with his Granny, the most vividly descriptive whore and folk healer, that you will ever want to meet. His mother is confined in a mental institution where she has not spoken a word since her lover and boyfriend were killed. Rory runs bootleg whiskey, a common occupation, to various institutions in his souped up automobile affectionally known as "Maybelline". Much of the novel centers on the rule of the mountain by different factions. Granny tries to protect her grandson, even when he uncovers past secrets and threatens revenge. The dialogue is often out right hilarious, and the ambience pitch perfect. I am sorry to see them go...

Dpfaef

My thoughts on this book
It took me a while to work my way through Gods of Howl Mountain; I just couldn’t get into this book. As beautifully written as the book was, there were times when I thought the words got in the way detracting from the story.

The story takes place in the 1950’s, Rory, the main character, returns home from the Korean Ware with a wooden leg and few job opportunities. Rory ends up running liquor for the local bootlegger. In the 1930’s the government created the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and flooded acres of land depriving thousands of people their homesteads. This is the backdrop for the book.

I just felt that the characters were too stereotypical. There is a rich history of Appalachia that I didn’t get a feel for in this book.

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Author Information

Taylor Brown Author Biography

Photo: Harry Taylor

Taylor Brown grew up on the Georgia coast. He has lived in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of western North Carolina. His fiction has appeared in more than twenty publications, he is the recipient of the Montana Prize in Fiction, and was a finalist in both the Machigonne Fiction Contest and the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. He is the author of Fallen Land (2016) and River of Kings (2017); Gods of Howl Mountain (2018) is his third novel. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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