Title: The Stove-Junker
Author: S.K. Kalsi
Date finished: 7/24/15
Publisher: Little Feather books, Inc.
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Pages in book: 334
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Rare Bird Lit / Rare Bird Books NOTE: I received this book for free from Rare Bird Lit / Rare Bird Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Blurb from the cover:
Part elegy, part history, part existential ghost tale, The Stove-Junker is a harrowing, lyrical meditation on loss, heartbreak, and the power of memory. In this extraordinary debut novel, S.K. Kalsi has crafted a haunting tale of unvarnished self-examination, as experienced through the story’s central character, Somerset Garden, the stove-junker. In the winter of 2012, 79-year-old Somerset travels back to his ancestral home in idyllic Drums, Pennsylvania, to renovate his dilapidated house. Burdened by the loss of his beloved wife, the long-ago disappearance of his rebellious son, and angry at God and at himself, Somerset hopes to reach a final understanding of the meaning of his life. While a blizzard barrels down from the north and “Armageddon” draws near, Somerset discovers an unnamed boy squatting on the property, a strange child who forces him to confront his past. As he unearths objects in the house that had been lost or discarded in the debris, Somerset remembers his father’s cruelty and the accident that cost him his brother’s life; he revisits the itinerant wandering of his youth, tethered to a troubled mother; he mourns the loss of his wife and ponders the decades-long absence of his son-all of whom are caught in the grip of Luzerne County’s ancient history of violence.
My rating: 1.75 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: This book was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I decided to accept this review request even though this isn’t my usual style of book because I wanted to try something different. And while I’m glad I tried something new, I don’t think I enjoyed this book as much as someone else might have. This book was a little dark for me and a little confusing. There was a lot of rambling and some pretty gory scenes. I would think this book would appeal to possibly Stephen King fans or Dean Koontz fans due to the dark scenes and the underlying feeling of anger and fear running through some pieces of the book.
The entire story is told by our one narrator, Somerset Garden. He has lived through a tough life, some pretty awful things were done to his mother in front of him and he lost his only son when his son was eighteen. He returns to his home in PA to fix up his house, his inheritance that he has no one to leave to, before he dies in Armageddon. While staying at the house he comes across a boy who can’t remember his name. He takes the boy in but the boy develops a fever and becomes pretty ill.
There was a lot going on in this book, the narrator tends to ramble on quite a bit and sometimes I found it a little hard to follow his thought process. I think that this is actually done purposefully since our narrator is aging and preparing to die. While this wasn’t necessarily my type of book, I think it has a lot of potential as a great literary fiction novel. I would definitely encourage people who like literary fiction (and probably of the dark variety) to give this book a try!
The bottom line: I wasn’t a huge fan of this book but more so because it is not my personnel preference of books. I think this might appeal to Stephen King or even Dean Koontz fans.
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page