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The Ash Family: A Novel

The Ash Family: A Novel

Escrito por Molly Dektar

Narrado por Emily Woo Zeller


The Ash Family: A Novel

Escrito por Molly Dektar

Narrado por Emily Woo Zeller

valoraciones:
3.5/5 (32 valoraciones)
Longitud:
9 horas
Publicado:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781501144868
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descripción

When a young woman leaves her family — and the civilized world — to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.

At 19, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie — now renamed Harmony — renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.

Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.

Publicado:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781501144868
Formato:
Audiolibro

También disponible como...

También disponible como libroLibro


Sobre el autor

Molly Dektar is from North Carolina and lives in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA program and Harvard College. She is the recipient of the Dakin Fellowship and the Brooklyn College Scholarship for Fiction. At Harvard, she was the recipient of the Louis Begley Fiction Prize. The Ash Family is her first novel.

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3.7
32 valoraciones / 8 Reseñas
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Reseñas de lectores

  • (3/5)
    I was really excited to read this book, I'm so intrigued by cults and how they get people to stay. I could slightly get why Berie would be interested and want to be part of the Ash Family, but she seemed to go back and forth a lot. I wish she would have been a little stronger of a character and then maybe I would have enjoyed the book. The ending really fell flat for me as well. It started getting really intense and then just flat.
  • (4/5)
    While the story was absolutely riveting, some of the language was a bit more lofty or flighty than I prefer. Lots of flowery metaphors that in small doses would have been perfect, but that went a bit overboard and sometimes distracted from the plot.

    On the brighter side though, I typically don't love a plot with limited or little closure, but somehow this one leaves you guessing in a great way.
  • (4/5)
    The Ash Family is a farming commune in the mountains of North Carolina. Berie is a young woman who doesn't know what she wants and has let her mother and her boyfriend tell her what to do until the moment she leaves for university and decides not to go, turning around and taking a bus to Asheville. At the bus stop, she encounters the charismatic Bay, who brings her to the Ash family farm and where she learns to work with farm animals, and is drawn into the close and tightly controlled group led by Dice, who also leads the inner circle of his group in a little light eco-terrorism. Berie is desperate to be trusted enough to join them and throws herself into the endless tasks involved in pulling a living out of the land. She's also desperate to get time with Bay, who is often gone recruiting new members and desperate to be accepted and find a home within the Ash Family. As Molly Dektar's debut novel goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that the Ash Family is not a benign group and equally clear that the members are being kept under tight control and surveillance. Berie's need for belonging can't entirely hide the less savory aspects of the commune from her, especially as her one friend is protecting a secret and Berie will not be able to remain free of the consequences. And, back in Durham, there are people worried about her and while they might be able to tell her that they want her to come home, whether or not Berie leaves is entirely up to her. While the novel does sometimes feel predictable and research into cults makes itself known, Dektar's writing is strong and clear. Berie is a wonderful character, very much an eighteen year old, but also a young woman who has a moral compass and who develops into someone who knows herself over the course of this novel.
  • (4/5)
    As someone who came of age in the late 60s/early 70s, I’ve always been fascinated with communes. Not fascinated enough to ever even think about joining one, but being torn between admiration for the hard work it took to make a successful one and astonishment at how people could fall for the blatant mind control that held others together. In this story, the author creates a cult that includes both those traits. Nineteen year old Berie’s mother thinks she’s on a plane to college, but she’s not. Berie is waiting at a bus stop when an intriguing man named Bay strikes up a conversation with her, telling her about the farm in the North Carolina mountains he lives on with other like-minded individuals. The live in the ‘real world’, rather than the ‘fake world’ of most people. They share everything, there are no couples and no children, they live in poverty, and produce all their food from the land. She is welcome to visit, but the rule is: you can visit for three days and leave, or stay for the rest of your life. No other way. No one leaves; in fact, people who leave tend to not survive. After meeting the family and their charismatic leader, Dice, she throws in with them. They are, she feels, are just what she’s been looking for. Of course there is culture shock. Her clothing is all taken away from her, and she is given clothing from the common pool, which is filthy. Renamed Harmony, she is immediately put to work herding the sheep, something she knows nothing about. She even has to sleep in the barn with them. The family only bathes once a week (if that), and they owe strict obedience to Dice. There is to be no asking of questions. There is no medical care. No one is to speak about their own past. And, as it turns out, things aren’t quite what she is told. They ‘live off the land’, but go into town to steal and go dumpster diving. They are for peace, but blow things up. I loved parts of this story. The descriptions of the land, and the work they do, is written in loving, beautiful detail. It’s a very dark story, though. And in some places it really drags. I didn’t much care for Berie- frankly, she was boring- and certainly not for Dice and some of the other family members. There were a couple who I took a liking to- firstly Pear, the 60ish healer and bread baker. I would have liked to have read about how she, who would supposedly be older and wiser, got sucked into the family. I liked Berie’s ex-boyfriend. I liked Queen, another family member. I give it four stars because while I couldn’t put it down, there were some places where I really wished the story would move faster.
  • (3/5)
    When I began this book, I was fairly certain it would end up as a DNF for me. However, I was interested enough to keep reading and give it a chance. While I did have some issues with the story, I also was intrigued and engaged with what was happening.A young woman named Beryl is headed to college, but suddenly decides to go off the grid and join this “family” and take a new name, cutting all ties with her former life. I never did understand why Beryl’s life was in such a state that she felt compelled to join this group and just disappear.The writing reminded me somewhat of stories like The Handmaid’s Tale, where there are sparse details, so the reader must try and imagine what is going on behind the scenes. I wasn’t that pleased with the ending. I’m guessing it was purposefully written to be confusing.I’m glad I stayed the course and finished the book. I liked it in spite of a few issues I had with the story. This is a debut novel, so I look forward to seeing future work from this author.Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Berie is 19 years old and is very unsure about going to college. It’s her mother’s dream, not hers. When she meets a stranger named Bay at a local bus station, she decides to give his off-the-grid community a chance. They tell her that she can stay three days or forever so she has a little time to decide. She’s always felt a connection with nature and wants to help save the world and thinks that this community, known as “The Ash Family”, is the answer so she decides to stay. She’s given a new name – Harmony – and is encouraged to forget the “fake world”. She learns how to take care of the farm animals but soon learns that there’s a violence to that part of the world that she has trouble accepting. She struggles with thoughts and longings for the “fake world” and with her desire to be a trusted part of this family. She begins to have doubts but she’s been pulled so far into this secretive world that she believes she may be trapped forever.This is the author’s debut and while it isn’t perfect, it held me completely in its thrall. There’s a deep understanding of how a cult leader can manipulate the mind, creating a strong desire to belong and be trusted, no matter what. While there were certainly times I wanted to shake Berie and tell her to wake up, I could see how she was masterfully pulled into this world. She was kept exhausted physically by the hard farm work and her mind was constantly being influenced by the leader’s “stories”. Berie soon feared the family’s lack of trust more than she feared their punishments. There are moments of literary beauty that assures this author of a promising career with her vivid, realistic characterization and atmospheric setting. This is an author to keep an eye on.A strong debut that is highly recommended.This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
  • (1/5)
    I really dislike writing negative reviews but, with this book, I can’t see any way around it. I could not finish this book. The cult members and “false world” references completely turned me off. (For me personally, the frequent use of the term “false world” brought to mind “fake news”.) I could not muster up any compassion for the characters in this story. In addition, the writing itself really needed some work. I really appreciate the advance egalley from Simon & Schuster. So sorry but I just cannot recommend this book.
  • (3/5)
    This was an interesting book that told the story of nineteen year old Berie and how she was lured into an isolated commune deep in the woods. The story then continues to show the manipulation and brainwashing that led Berie to eventually change her name to Harmony, shun her "fake" life and denounce her family. The book was a bit slow, there wasn't much action. Instead it focused on two years in the life of Harmony and her family, also known as "ashers." I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for a review.