Coal Run takes its readers to a small Pennsylvanian mining community ravaged from a disaster that took the lives of almost a hundred coal miners O Dell s book not only shows the tangled lives of some rural people, but it also shows just how hard an accident can hit a town and how the aftershock can drag down even the people you least suspect, even many years later. Any discussion of Tawni O Dell s novel Coal Run should begin with the novel s setting one that captures well the slow motion tragedy that has enfolded many communities of America s Rust Belt O Dell s Coal Run, Pennsylvania, is an industrial ghost town that has been twice cursed The first of Coal Run s tragedies occurred in 1967, when the J P Coal Company Mine No 9, the Gertie mine, blew up, killing 97 miners, including the father of the novel s protagonist, Ivan Zoschenko The second took place years later, when an underground mine fire similar to the real life Centralia mine fire forced the evacuation of the town Most people moved to the county seat at Centresburg, one of those towns with a crumbling and moribund downtown and a bunch of big box retailers springing up like weeds out on the fringes.The trauma of the town of Coal Run mirrors that of the novel s main character, Ivan Zoschenko, who narrates the novel In high school, Ivan was a football star, the great Ivan Z His football success continued at Penn State, and then he was drafted by the Chicago Bears but his prospects of NFL wealth and fame ended when he suffered a crushing knee injury Now, after years of drifting, he has returned home to Pennsylvania and become a deputy sheriff His reasons for doing so are complex, and relate to the impending return of a former football teammate, Reese Raynor, who beat his wife Crystal into a permanent coma and was sent to prison for it Ivan has his own reasons for wanting to seek an accounting from Reese for what Reese did to Crystal.To say would risk giving too much away I was impressed with the manner in which O Dell conveyed the voices of her characters, the thought processes of her narrator, and authentic details of life in Western and Central Pennsylvania Any resident of State College could tell you that O Dell s presentation of life at Penn State is absolutely on target Coal Run is a powerful and complex novel, building suspense well and offering surprises throughout. This was the second Tawni O Dell novel I read, and I found it a bit tedious Again, I shouldn t say read, as I actually listened to the audio book, and I found myself getting frustrated with the protagonist he was a boor, and I couldn t understand why his love interest was interested in him at all The story advanced at a snail s pace, the protagonist hinted at his past sins but it took forever to get to them, and then I m not really sure he was redeemed at all by the story s end If you choose to read it, prepare to feel frustrated. It wasn t as good as her first published novel but let s be fair what can possibly top that Nonetheless, this still is a good book by a great writer.On a side note This woman is my hero, 0 Dell writes like a writer and can be an inspiration to all genders Love her style and work And her intelligence.A good enough follow up to Back Roads. I didn t finish it Her writing is really good, there are some excellent little gems of prose in what I read ButIt lacked a lot of the luster of Backroads, and I didn t like the protagonist as much as in Sister Mine I thought this guy was an ass, actually I also am finding it hard to forgive the author s opinions about female bodies In Backroads there were some nasty things said about aging women who didn t fight the process tooth and nail, but since it was a sixteen year old boy saying it, I thought they were the opinions of the character and not necessarily the author Then similar things were said in Sister Mine and I squirmed So, when I encountered a couple of remarks in the same vein in this book, I just had to stop.I just can t keep going on with hateful things said about aging women or women who are getting soft around the middle I m sorry, but it s a battle to keep up my self esteem as it is The closer I get to 40, the harder that battle is sometimes The last thing I need is to be blasted with negativity during my leisure time Ms O Dell is cute and tiny and I guess she should just be pleased as punch with herself, but you know Leave the rest of us out of it. An engaging and rewarding novel covering the lingering impact on a rural Pennsylvania community of a coal mining disaster and the pathways to recovery that people take Ivan Z lost his Ukrainian immigrant father in the mine explosion which killed nearly 100 others His success as a football hero in school and college was cut short by an accident that damaged his leg, and now, after a 15 year interlude in Florida, he returns to the town of Coal Run where he takes a position as a deputy sheriff The narrative explores his efforts to achieve balance in his life though his relationships with his big hearted sister, who has three children from different fathers, a mentor from youth who lost a leg in Vietnam, and a doctor who knows all the dark family secrets of the town Ivan s positive efforts to be a good uncle to his nephews, to help with his friend s domestic violence issues, and to initiate a new relationship with a woman doctor are undermined by his own dark secret from his youth and his hidden plans to deal with the impending release of a man whose abuse put his wife into a coma O Dell manages these themes with great compassion, humor, and life affirming character development The book is a strong follow up to her excellent Back Roads. Ivan Ivan This book is definitely not as good as her first one Back Roads ,but still she is capable of morphing boring stories into something funny and sad at the same time.I was not interested in the story as much as I was eager to discover Tawni s writing again She is indeed a very good writer and she is able to develop numerous characters perfectly I do not regret reading this book In fact , it was as if Ivan was a person I ve known very well. Yawn With a book that had a massive mine explosion, a professional athletic career wrecked by injury, a Vietnam veteran, an abused woman whose abuser was released, and the list goes on This book was justdullThe Good Probably my favorite part of the story occurred in the beginning, centering around the mine explosion It had a sense of place and time which was enjoyableand the characters hadn t had time to develop into selfish egotistical pigs.The Eh Too much Just too much I felt like I was listening to a middle schooler s summer vacation and then this happenedand then this happened There were plenty of strands to the story and none of them were satisfying.The Ugly I really despised these characters The convenient atheism is tiresome I ve been a selfish pig and messed up my life and the lives of others If there is a God, how could this happen I guess I don t believe in Him Or personal responsibility I m also tired of grown people acting like adolescents in books I ve written about that before Here it is again.I listened to the audio all the way to the end awaiting a resolution I suppose there was a small sense of resolution But it wasn t worth the read. With Her Eagerly Awaited Second Novel, Tawni O Dell Takes Readers Back To The Coal Mining Country Of Western Pennsylvania Set In A Town Ravaged And Haunted By A Mine Explosion That Took The Lives Of Men, Coal Run Explores The Life Of Local Deputy And Erstwhile Football Legend, The Great Ivan Z As He Prepares For A Former Teammate S Imminent Release From Prison As The Week Unfolds And Ivan Struggles To Confront His Demons, He Reveals Himself To Be A Man Whose Conscience Is Burdened By A Long Held And Shocking Secret I love this book but it took me five months to finish because I m a slow reader It s a good old fashioned small town American drama.
Tawni O Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of Fragile Beasts, Sister Mine, Coal Run, and Back Roads, which was an Oprah s Book Club pick and a Book of the Month Club Main Selection Tawni s screen adaptation of Back Roads is currently in development to be made into a film with Adrian Lyne set to direct Her work has been translated into 15 languages and been published in over 30 countri
- 368 pages
- Coal Run
- Tawni O'Dell
- 07 October 2019 Tawni O'Dell