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Reviews of Salvage This World by Michael Smith

Salvage This World

A Novel

by Michael Farris Smith

Salvage This World by Michael Farris Smith X
Salvage This World by Michael Farris Smith
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Apr 2023, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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About this Book

Book Summary

In this "tense, brooding" novel, a young woman returns home with her child to her ghost-haunted father, while a religious extremist hunts the stormridden territory to find the girl who may be a savior in the apocalypse. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

There was no rising from the dead and there was no hand to calm the storms and there was no peace in no valley.

In the hurricane-ravaged bottomlands of South Mississippi, where stores are closing and jobs are few, a fierce zealot has gained a foothold, capitalizing on the vulnerability of a dwindling population and a burning need for hope. As she preaches and promises salvation from the light of the pulpit, in the shadows she sows the seeds of violence.

Elsewhere, Jessie and her toddler, Jace, are on the run across the Mississippi/Louisiana line, in a resentful return to her childhood home and her desolate father. Holt, Jace's father, is missing and hunted by a brutish crowd, and an old man witnesses the wrong thing in the depths of night. In only a matter of days, all of their lives will collide, and be altered, in the maelstrom of the changing world.

At once elegiac and profound, Salvage This World journeys into the heart of a region growing darker and less forgiving, and asks how we keep going—what do we hold onto—in a land where God has fled.

Excerpt
Salvage This World

She stood bathed in twilight, the dust in her hair and a kid on her hip and she stared at the approaching storm as if trying to figure how to wrangle the thunderheads and steer them to a distant and parched land where desperate souls would pay whatever ransom she demanded. The acres of sugar cane cut to nubs surrounding the house. A dry autumn turned into an unpredictable winter and then eleven days ago he left and she'd seen no one since. It was a mile walk along a dirt road that separated the acreage and another eight miles to walk to the nearest telephone but even if she wanted to bundle up and make it she wouldn't know who to call. He was gone. And he had taken the car and the cigarettes and every dollar except for the stash she kept hidden beneath a floor plank in the closet. She had finished the last of the whiskey three nights before. The milk had run out yesterday.

Jessie stared at the storm and the wind began to blow and dustclouds rose like souls ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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At its core, Smith's novel is a look at the strength required to face trauma, ranging from the shared trauma of witnessing society crumble around oneself to the deeply personal trauma of loss. Smith regularly employs long, run-on sentences that defy traditional rules of punctuation and structure. While they may seem jarring at first, these reflect the desperation felt by his characters, and the sense that circumstances are spiraling beyond their control with alarming and inescapable momentum...continued

Full Review (644 words)

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(Reviewed by Callum McLaughlin).

Media Reviews

New York Journal of Books
Farris Smith is in top form at the layered story's breathtaking climax, masterfully guiding disparate variables from a slow burn to an incendiary ending with suspenseful detail, multi-sensory pacing, and a future open to interpretation.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
An exceptional storyteller…Smith is building his own Falkner-esque universe.

Publishers Weekly
In this evocative noir of the Mississippi Delta... Smith perfectly depicts a landscape of dwindling resources and limited prospects, where crime turns out to be the most expedient solution. There's plenty of human drama in this gritty literary thriller.

The New York Times Book Review
All in all, Salvage This World is a bruising, bracing read by a hell of a writer. If you consider life too short for uninspired sentences or nondescript locales, this book is for you.

Author Blurb Laird Hunt, National Book Award-nominated author of Zorrie and Neverhome
With a cast of fierce, masterfully drawn characters set loose in gorgeous, hurricane-blasted landscapes, Salvage this World by Michael Farris Smith is riveting: I couldn't put it down.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

The Rising Threat of Hurricanes

Floodwaters caused by Hurricane Sandy crashing into a sidewalk railing in Marblehead, Massachusetts In Michael Farris Smith's novel Salvage This World, society is slowly breaking under the pressure of near-constant hurricanes. In real terms, it is already clear that storms have become increasingly powerful in recent years as a result of climate change. What will only become clear with time is whether this is the "new normal" or if this trajectory will continue into the future.

Rising temperatures are a major factor; the higher the temperature of air, the more water vapor it can hold. As both our oceans and the atmosphere get warmer, more steam evaporates from the surface of the Earth, gathering in the air as vapor. This results in greater levels of rainfall, particularly when vapor is whipped up by the powerful winds of a ...

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Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

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