Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Auraria: A Novel

Auraria: A Novel
Auraria: A Novel by Tim Westover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Magical Realism Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free eGalley eBook edition of this text from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis: Water spirits, moon maidens, haunted pianos, headless revenants, and an invincible terrapin that lives under the mountains. None of these distract James Holtzclaw from his employer’s mission: to turn the fading gold-rush town of Auraria, GA, into a first-class resort and drown its fortunes below a man-made lake. But when Auraria’s peculiar people and problematic ghosts collide with his own rival ambitions, Holtzclaw must decide what he will save and what will be washed away.

Taking its inspiration from a real Georgia ghost town, “Auraria: is steeped in the folklore of the Southern Appalachians, where the tensions of natural, supernatural and artificial are still alive.

My Thoughts: I live in Georgia, but haven’t really been into the north Georgia mountains. I was charmed by the fantastic happenings that Holtzclaw experiences in and around the community of Auraria. I’ve become interested in learning more about the lore and legends of this area as a result of reading this book. Since I have absolutely no knowledge, I can’t comment on whether the creatures and ghosts used in the book are based upon real legends and lore, but the legends and such he uses/creates for this book are very fun.

I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite among the many characters – living, dead, and supernatural – that people this excellent story. The residents of Auraria are varied and eccentric, and watching Holtzclaw – the consummate city gentleman – as he tried to provide an “appropriate” reaction to the more-often-than-not crazy events around him was highly entertaining; I spent a great deal of time giggling while reading this story. It reminded me, in a lot of ways, of the old tall tales we used to read and hear when I was in grade school, such as Pecos Bill and the like.

The end of the book is devoted to an explanation of some of the real-life places and events that served as inspiration for this story, although it does not address the supernatural elements such as the plat-eye, the wonder fish, the moon maidens and the like, on which I plan to do some research when I can shave out the time. All in all, if you enjoy tall tales, legends, stories of the strange and wonderful, and the mysterious, you should enjoy this very engaging and enjoyable book. Highly recommended.

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