cover image Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to Go

David Joy. Putnam, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-17277-9

North Carolina memoirist Joy (Growing Gills) sets his gripping first novel in his native Appalachia. Jacob McNeely, the 18-year-old son of a meth-addicted mother and a sociopathic father who operates a drug ring, has always believed he can’t transcend his roots. But when his childhood sweetheart, Maggie Jennings, graduates from high school, she asks him to leave the mountains with her, and he begins to envision a life free of his family legacy. Threats to his father’s business provoke violence, however, ensnaring Jacob in murder and betrayal even as he plans his escape. Despite his recreational drug use and propensity for violence, he has a capacity for selfless love that will keep readers invested in his struggle. Some Appalachian clichés and repetitive descriptions don’t detract from the tragic, absorbing plot. Engaging characters, a well-realized setting, and poetic prose establish Joy as a novelist worth watching. [em]Agent: Julia Kenny, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Mar.) [/em]