cover image Dig


A.S. King. Dutton, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-101-99491-7

The family tree under examination in the latest novel by King (Still Life with Tornado) is diseased—distorted by racial hatred, drug abuse, poverty, illness, and domestic violence. The patriarch of Pennsylvania’s Hemmings family, Gottfried, earned millions selling the family potato farm to housing developers, alienating his siblings. Marla, his mean-spirited wife, enjoys the spoils while looking down at everyone else, including her offspring and grandchildren. “Marla has no idea she’s white,” observes Malcolm, a grandson, “and the whole world was made for people like her.” The first-person narrative shifts perspectives frequently to introduce four other teens, living in the same small town but largely unknown to each other, and their parents, many of whom are, by turns, judgmental, abusive, or neglectful. Like King’s other novels, this one has a hallucinatory quality that keeps the reader guessing what’s real and what’s not. The payoff is in the profound ending, which pulls together the disparate threads and offers hope that at least some of these characters will dig themselves out from under the legacy of hate they have unwillingly inherited. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich and Bourret. (Mar.) [/em]