Comment: Rich in historical detail, this gorgeously written debut novel tells the
story of a little scrap of humanity coming of age in the boom and bust years of a
California Welsh coal mining in the 1860-70s (close to Mount Diablo in the San Francisco Bay
Area). He's only seven years old but Asher Witherow, the only child of Welsh
parents, is already putting in a 12-hour days at the pit head
alongside his father and the majority of the town, then at night he attends a few
hours of school with the other pit-boys. Life is harsh but there are a few
glimmers of hope, for Asher at least, if not the mining community as a whole.
This is one of those books where the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts that I fear to give you details from the plot, so all I can do is encourage you to read the excerpt for yourself and decide if ...
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