Damnation Spring, a review by Amy

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Damnation Spring
Ash Davidson
464 pages

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“It was the thing that had most surprised him about being married: half the time he didn’t know what he thought until he said it out loud to her.”

Logging is in Rich’s blood. Being a fourth-generation logger, those trees are as much a way of life to him as being a husband and a dad. This look into life in a 1970’s logging community is told through the alternating perspectives of Rich and his wife, Colleen. While Rich is focused on hard work and providing for his family, Collen is the nurturer, both to her family and other women in the community. Colleen’s longing for another child is met with bitter disappointment at miscarriage after miscarriage. As the community becomes embroiled in a battle between ecology and economy, Rich and Colleen find themselves with different perspectives on the future.

Davidson paints an adept picture of deep family bonds, hardworking people, everyday struggles, the complexities of communities in flux, and the battle to change long-term patterns of belief. I came away with a strong connection to this way of life and what a family looked like as change upended them.

While the premise of the book drew me in, the execution of the pacing fell short. This is a book that demands patience. 75% of the book is slow and steady, often bogged down in technical logging terminology. But that last 25% is satisfyingly told at a break neck speed, full of action and more acutely focused.

Thank you to Ash Davidson, Scribner, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

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