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Bloodroot

A book by Amy Greene

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Beautiful debut novel, but not always easy to read.

  • Mar 4, 2010
Rating:
+3
The bloodroot is a flower that has the capacity to both heal and poison. The same could be said of one of the story's most memorable characters, Myra. Myra lives on Bloodroot Mountain, and it is clear that the mountain also lives IN her, as she never rests easy when she is away from it. Myra and other women in her family tree are said to have mystical powers. In her family and on the mountain in general, these powers have been used for good. But, when it comes to the men in her life, something about Myra not only mesmerizes them but destroys them.

This story, told by several characters and about several generations of families on and around Bloodroot Mountain, is incredibly rich and detailed. I had no problem at all being pulled into the story or staying interested in it. It is, however, not a happy story. There are moments of happiness, but they are far outweighed by sadness, violence, poverty and madness. It reminded me at times of the books I read during the first year of Oprah's Book Club; books that were well written and impactful but weighed me down with sadness during and after reading them.

Because the story is told by multiple characters in different generations, events weren't always happening in the same timeline; as a result, I sometimes had trouble keeping clear about the order in which various events happened. This is one of the main reasons I'm giving the book 4 stars instead of 5.

This book reminded me somewhat of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, my favorite fiction of 2009. They both take place in the past and are written from multiple perspectives. Both authors live in the area about which they are writing, so they know not only the landmarks but the lingo and the personality of the area. Both stories contain sadness and violence. I don't know that Bloodroot will be my favorite fiction of 2010, but I do believe it will be toward the top of that list.

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More Bloodroot reviews
review by . April 27, 2010
Reading Amy Greene's BLOODROOT causes you to long for a more simple time in life when things were not as complicated as they can be as adults. Sure there are problems, but you deal with them in your own way in order to make life bearable.     Greene writes in a way that soothes the reader and allows you to forget about the cares of your own day and settle into those of the characters. You laugh and play with them, and feel sorry for their circumstances when the time warrants. …
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I have been a customer reviewer on Amazon.com for well over a decade and an Amazon Vine reviewer since the program began. I enjoy writing product reviews that will help customers make a buying decision. … more
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Wiki

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2010:Bloodrootis that rare sort of family saga that feels intimate instead of epic. Set in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, it’s told largely in tandem voices that keep watchful eyes on Myra Lamb. She is a child of the mountain, tied to the land in ways that mystify and enchant those around her. There’s magic to Myra--perhaps because she has the remarkable blue eyes foretold by a nearly-forgotten family curse--but little fantasy to her life.Bloodrootis as much about the Lambs as it is about a place, one that becomes ever more vivid as generations form, break free, and knit back together. Its characters speak plainly but true, they are resilient and flawed and beautiful, and there's a near-instant empathy in reading their stories, which--even in their most visceral moments--are alluring and wonderful. --Anne Bartholomew

A Q&A with Amy Greene

Question: You’ve lived all your life in East Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, a part of the country you depict vividly in Bloodroot. How did you imbue a familiar place with such detail and even magic? What was it like to put the language you’d heard all your life into words on the page, as dialogue?

Amy Greene: There is, I think, an intimacy with the landscape that comes with living here. Most of my childhood was spent outdoors, a part of my experience that emerges naturally in my writing. Bringing the language I’ve heard all my life to the page also came easily. It...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0307269868
ISBN-13: 978-0307269867
Author: Amy Greene
Publisher: Knopf

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