Item description for The Green Age of Asher Witherow by M. Allen Cunningham...
Rich in historical detail, this gorgeously written debut novel tells the story of a young soul coming of age during the boom and bust years of a California Welsh coal mining in the 1860-70s. M. Allen Cunnignham writes about a place at once gritty, yet magical. He captures an intimate connection between the characters and a sweeping landscape, where the future seems filled with promise but where a day's labor is bone breaking and dangerous.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Release Date Oct 7, 2004
Publisher Unbridled Books
ISBN 1932961003 ISBN13 9781932961003
Availability 0 units.
More About M. Allen Cunningham
M. Allen Cunningham is the author of the widely acclaimed novel The Green Age of Asher Witherow, a #1 Book Sense Pick. He grew up in the Diablo Valley north of San Francisco, and now resides with his wife in Portland, Oregon.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Green Age of Asher Witherow?
Well writting... even a bit odd Mar 21, 2008
I think this book was well written. I could identify with the main character... with his life being in this town.. only to return later to find NOTHING. Most of my family grew up on the Coal industry... that being what first drew me to this book. I loved the story. The dynamics between all the characters was great as well as the suspicision of certain ones.. especially during THIS AGE. Most of us are haunted in some way by our childhood.. this one just gets to be haunted DAILY..even during childhood. It can come across as a slow read but it is worth the effort.
Brilliant Nov 20, 2006
Here is a novel with the power and brilliance to enter into the heart of the reader. All the elements of great literary fiction are found in the pages of "The Green Age of Asher Witherow." The voice of the narrator looking back many decades to his boyhood could alone have carried this novel. But in addition to voice, the novel also offers a plot involving unforgettable characters who influence and change the boy forever.
One such character is Josiah Lyte, a young would-be Christian minister with a deep and haunting understanding of how life and death can hold hands and dance around each person. His presence holds an ambiguity in the eyes of the people of the town, whose version of Christianity is more literal and monotheistic than Lyte's: Lyte becomes the object of suspicion, even as he draws the narrator, Asher Witherow, closer to him and to a vision of life that is radical and renegade. The interaction between the two is arresting; Asher reflects: "I didn't tell Mother or Father that Lyte and I had spoken again. The confidence flared inside me wit the irresistible thrill of sin. It was so alarmingly simple not to speak, to clutch the secret deeply and own it all myself. The clutching grew delicous." In this relationship the reader can see and feel how we are pulled toward another person for inner reasons we don't fully understand; we can also see, even from the early pages of the novel, that this relationship of Asher's green age has stayed with him and become a part of his soul.
So to his relationships with his boyhood friend Thomas and his first young love, Anna, stay with him: these relationships are beautifully, poignantly drawn, as is his intense and watchful relationship with his parents. And if all this were not enough, the reader is also given a gripping plot involving harrowing experiences and pressing moral dilemmas.
Throughout this novel is the sustained writing: the magnificent voice of Asher reflecting back on his childhood. His descriptions of the earth and its evolution, and the meaning of this evolution, are woven throughout the pages, such that earth becomes yet another character whose force he recognizes. That the novel is set in a mining town and that the characters, including his father and he himself, must descend deep into the earth, intensifies this already intense novel.
"The Green Age of Asher Witherow" is a novel that truly shines out among literary fiction.
Wow Nov 18, 2005
This is without a doubt the most atmospheric book I've ever read. It was a great story, but even if it wasn't I don't think it would matter. The chapter where Asher's friend 'expires' (I don't want to give too much away) was like reading a nightmare. This is the best first book I've ever read. I'm definitely looking forward to his next.
Multi-layered treatise on life, death, the human condition May 12, 2005
This book is definitely not for everyone, but the thoughtful reader will find much to savor. In chapters cycling from earth, blood, bone, ash, and back to earth Asher Witherow, winnowed out as special by the unconventional clergyman Josiah Lyte, experiences these elements in his first twenty years. There is a constant dichotomy and juxtaposition in this book. The spiritual and the earthly, the inner and the outer. Life inside the mines and outside the mines. Life and events inside and outside the self. The exposing of the earth's soul and the exposing of the human soul. The darkness of the mine and the darkness of night.
Although a history of mining life in California in the 1860s-1870s is presented, this is not typical historical fiction. This book is way more unique and philosophical.
My only caveat is that in the first half of the book I kept forgetting that the child narrator was just a child. Usually this irritates me, but because he is presented as highly intelligent the author manages to pull it off. All in all this is a stunning first novel published by a small press.
Green Age of Asher Witherow Jan 21, 2005
Beautiful prose and some interesting flirtations with nineteenth-century philosophy. For me, though, in the end there's not enough story here to make the book memorable.
All the events affecting the characters and the little mining town in which they live are disastrous, to the point of caricature, and none of them seem to be brought about by protagonist choices or actions; even the vividly described death of a boy in a mine and an accidental pregnancy seem like the results of some looming, inexplicably malevolent Fate. The narrative style in which the story is told by the main character late in life ensures that we know he survives. The beauty of the sentence-level style masks the problems with the plot to some extent but doesn't, in the end, conceal its general pointlessness.