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The small town of Swine Hill is filled with ghosts. The ghosts have taken over the abandoned downtown area and haunt places that they have unresolved dealings with. Some ghosts have been known to hurt people and sometimes, even change them. In Swine Hill, there are more dead things than living.
Jane has been haunted since she was a child. Her ghost feeds on the secrets and fears of people around her. She loves to share her findings with Jane, even if Jane doesn't want to know. Jane's brother, Henry, is also plagued by a ghost. His ghost takes over and causes him to build strange and dangerous machines. Her mother is possessed by a lonely spirit who craves attention and burns anyone who she touches.
When newcomers start obtaining coveted jobs at the pork processing plant, both the living and dead are upset. They are worried about their future and where they would go. Jane and her family have loyalties to both sides and try to survive when things start getting violent. Will Jane and her family be able to escape Swine Hill?
I found the book to be an interesting read. It definitely had a different plot that I would have expected or used too. I found each character to be well developed and interesting. However, I found it annoying that some characters knew how to get rid of ghosts but, didn't really make the attempt to do so until things went downhill. For example, Jane was trying to make her friend's life better but, yet she continued to let her mother suffer from her ghost. Overall, the novel was an interesting read from books I normally read.
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Swine Hill was full of the dead. Their ghosts were thickest near the abandoned downtown, where so many of the town’s hopes had died generation by generation. They lingered in the places that mattered to them, and people avoided those streets, locked those doors, stopped going into those rooms . . . They could hurt you. Worse, they could change you.
Jane is haunted. Since she was a child, she has carried a ghost girl that feeds on the secrets and fears of everyone around her, whispering to Jane what they are thinking and feeling, even when she doesn’t want to know. Henry, Jane’s brother, is ridden by a genius ghost that forces him to build strange and dangerous machines. Their mother is possessed by a lonely spirit that burns anyone she touches. In Swine Hill, a place of defeat and depletion, there are more dead than living.
When new arrivals begin scoring precious jobs at the last factory in town, both the living and the dead are furious. This insult on the end of a long economic decline sparks a conflagration. Buffeted by rage on all sides, Jane must find a way to save her haunted family and escape the town before it kills them.
“A tour-de-force of the imagination. Hicks has created a world that is beautifully and brutally surreal and yet, at the same time, BREAK THE BODIES, HAUNT THE BONES stands as a hyper-realistic psychological portrait of the death of the American factory town. My own identity as an American was disturbed and changed by this novel; some dormant understanding was shaken awake. This is a stunning and profound debut.” ―Julianna Baggott, bestselling author of New York Times Notable Book Pure
“Hicks’ debut novel is a thoughtful tour of the rotted and haunted heart of America. Highly recommended.” ―Jeremiah Tolbert, Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author
“I can’t stop thinking about this book. It’s a haunting story that burrows under your skin like an insect laying eggs that hatch within you in the middle of the night. Hicks’ mesmerizing imagery kept me turning the pages and asking myself ‘How is this book happening? What sort of literary witchcraft am I witnessing?’” ―Maurice Broaddus, author of Buffalo Soldier and The Usual Suspects
“BREAK THE BODIES, HAUNT THE BONES is a breathless wonder of a debut novel… Hicks is a magician with words and has written a spellbinding, haunting and necessary book.” ―Anne Valente, author of Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down
“Hicks has crafted a haunting story with multi-generational appeal, where the very real horror of poverty meets supernatural horror, and social issues like xenophobia, racism and economic anxiety are addressed organically through allegory and gripping storytelling.” ―Chris L. Terry, author of Black Card and Zero Fade
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PHOTO CREDIT: SCOT LERNER 2018
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