Haunted People in a Shifting Landscape: A Review of David Joy’s “When These Mountains Burn”

David Joy cover

Imagine a tree in an old growth forest. The core is ancient. Its roots have been in the earth for centuries, drawing substance from it while helping shape the ecosystem around it and even becoming an ecosystem itself. However, at the tip of its branches burgeons new life, infant shoots that are new to the world. This tree is just like David Joy’s latest novel, When These Mountains Burn; something both old and new that embodies change and permanence while also reminding us that things we imagine monolithic, like places and cultures, are malleable, changing, ephemeral. 

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A History of Vengeance: David Joy’s “The Line That Held Us” Reviewed

With his first two novels, Where All Light Tends to Go and The Weight of this World, David Joy established himself as one of the preeminent voices in Appalachian noir. However, he was clearly not content with that position. The Line That Held Us, his latest release, offers everything he already gave readers while commandingly treading new ground. While the narrative contains the sine qua non elements of noir and once again takes place within the context of rural Appalachian […]

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Violence, Place, and “Exquisite Grit”: A Review of David Joy’s “The Weight of This World

There is a profound, substantially nuanced relationship between people and the geography they inhabit. When it comes to rural noir, a good understanding of this correlation usually means the difference between a narrative that exudes authenticity and understanding and one that reads like something a well-off author from the suburbs wrote while he or she imagined life on the wrong side of the tracks. David Joy’s The Weight of This World belongs to the first group. Joy’s novel deals with […]

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