Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
“WINNER OF THE 2023 PULITZER PRIZE • WINNER OF THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION”
Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Demon Copperhead tells the tale of a young boy born to a teenage single mother in a single-wide trailer. With no assets except for his deceased father’s striking looks and copper-colored hair, a sharp sense of humor, and an innate talent for survival, Demon confronts the challenges of foster care, child labor, dilapidated schools, athletic achievements, addiction, heart-wrenching romances, and devastating losses. Narrated in his own unflinching voice, he grapples with his own invisibility in a popular culture that has forsaken rural communities in favor of urban centers.
Centuries ago, Charles Dickens penned David Copperfield based on his own experiences as a survivor of institutional poverty and the detrimental effects it had on children of his time. Regrettably, these issues persist in our society. While Dickens’ work is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, it served as a profound source of inspiration. By transporting a Victorian epic into the modern American South, Barbara Kingsolver channels Dickens’ indignation, empathy, and, above all, his belief in the transformative power of a compelling narrative. Demon Copperhead gives voice to a new generation of lost boys and all those born into enchanting yet cursed places they couldn’t fathom leaving behind.
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