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Witches on the Road Tonight

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By the best-selling author of The Dress Lodger, Sheri Holman's new and most ambitious novel to date, Witches on the Road Tonight, uncovers the secrets and lies that echo through three generations of one Appalachian family. It is a deeply human, urgent exploration of America's doomed love affair with fear. By the best-selling author of The Dress Lodger, Sheri Holman's new and most ambitious novel to date, Witches on the Road Tonight, uncovers the secrets and lies that echo through three generations of one Appalachian family. It is a deeply human, urgent exploration of America's doomed love affair with fear.


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By the best-selling author of The Dress Lodger, Sheri Holman's new and most ambitious novel to date, Witches on the Road Tonight, uncovers the secrets and lies that echo through three generations of one Appalachian family. It is a deeply human, urgent exploration of America's doomed love affair with fear. By the best-selling author of The Dress Lodger, Sheri Holman's new and most ambitious novel to date, Witches on the Road Tonight, uncovers the secrets and lies that echo through three generations of one Appalachian family. It is a deeply human, urgent exploration of America's doomed love affair with fear.

2 review for Witches on the Road Tonight

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    What a fantastic find! While I'm categorizing it as Horror for purposes of my Horror Readathon, this book is a lot of things: Historical fiction, fairy tale, family saga, etc. And while a book that jumps through time and plotline as much as this one does is risky, it really paid off. The throughline of the book is Eddie Alley, brought up in Appalachia, and more importantly, from a family of witches. As a child an accident brings a writer and photographer find themselves at the Alley's small and What a fantastic find! While I'm categorizing it as Horror for purposes of my Horror Readathon, this book is a lot of things: Historical fiction, fairy tale, family saga, etc. And while a book that jumps through time and plotline as much as this one does is risky, it really paid off. The throughline of the book is Eddie Alley, brought up in Appalachia, and more importantly, from a family of witches. As a child an accident brings a writer and photographer find themselves at the Alley's small and strange cabin. As an adult, now locally famous as the host of weekly horror movies, Eddie adopts a troubled teen to join his daughter Wallis. And finally, full grown Wallis and aging Eddie consider the now-lost boy. I particularly loved the oldest plotline, every part of it just sang. The photographer's worldweary romance with the writer, already knowing he will let her down. The writer's seduction by magical forces and his inability to escape them. Most of all I loved Cora, Eddie's mother, who is strange in the way witches should be strange. Unknowable. The witchy night scenes of secrecy are some of the best writing I can recall, certainly some of the best horror I've read. A very ambitious, very enjoyable novel that may not scare in the traditional way but that packs a real emotional punch.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kat Warren

    Finally, the first drop-my-jaw-in-awe book of 2011. Some writers are a "brand" which is to say you know exactly what you're going to get when you pick up one of their books. So not so with Holman; you don't even know what time frame you might be inhabiting: the 15th century of "A Stolen Tongue," the 19th century of "The Dress Lodger" or the 20th century of "The Mammoth Cheese." Another Holman hallmark: her books invariably disport unusual titles. I cannot fathom why there has been little buzz arou Finally, the first drop-my-jaw-in-awe book of 2011. Some writers are a "brand" which is to say you know exactly what you're going to get when you pick up one of their books. So not so with Holman; you don't even know what time frame you might be inhabiting: the 15th century of "A Stolen Tongue," the 19th century of "The Dress Lodger" or the 20th century of "The Mammoth Cheese." Another Holman hallmark: her books invariably disport unusual titles. I cannot fathom why there has been little buzz around this new novel. So far. Maybe I'm too eager and missed the opening reviews. The PW and Booklist reviews here on Amazon don't reflect the book I read and they're good reviews overall but lack the excitement of readerly greed satisfied so richly and rarely. "Witches on the Road Tonight" is hallelujah-finest-kind. I had to rise early on a Saturday morning expressly to read the last 50 pages. Why was I mesmerized (eponym alert)? Holman specializes in story telling and in this book she exceeds the bar. At the same time, the writing, language, depictions, evocations, great heart put flesh on her story and I don't mean it to sound muscular because the result delivers distilled but non-fussy elegance uncommon in a very good story. The WPA element doesn't hurt, either. {Yes, we're in the 20th century again but roaming about some.) Tired Appalachia here is fulsomely rendered -- luscious, gorgeous and time-out-of-mind dangerous.I expect I've found the book I'll be pushing (ok, I'll be nice, evangelizing) on all and sundry this year. Stay tuned and stand by your mailboxes y'all who call me friend. flag 8 likes · Like  · see review Jan 03, 2012 Lyndz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition Shelves: first-reads, witches-wizards, reviewed, own Ok so I will cut to the chase, since that is what I do best. I liked this book but I also had some problems with it too. Shocking, - yes I know. I love witchlore, I don’t know what it is about it that is so fascinating, ok, maybe I do, but either way, I am yet to read a book about witches that I thought was a total waste of time. That being said let me get to what I thought. Sheri Holman has a distinct writing style in this book, which I quite enjoyed. You are never at a loss for physical descri Ok so I will cut to the chase, since that is what I do best. I liked this book but I also had some problems with it too. Shocking, - yes I know. I love witchlore, I don’t know what it is about it that is so fascinating, ok, maybe I do, but either way, I am yet to read a book about witches that I thought was a total waste of time. That being said let me get to what I thought. Sheri Holman has a distinct writing style in this book, which I quite enjoyed. You are never at a loss for physical descriptions or tidbits of poetic anecdotes. There was perceptible depth to the tapestry of this book. The symbolism of the ginseng (or the ‘sang) root’s circles of growth and the parallel to the entire book and the story specifically of Eddie was not lost on me. Unfortunately, of all the elaborate characters, I was not able to obtain that inexpressible “connection”(that I so crave) with a single one. I wanted to, trust me. Although the story started off strong with finely woven silver hairs of the supernatural and a great historical fiction backdrop, I found some of the plot to have lost its “magic” as the book progressed, particularly near the end. The conclusion felt a little spotty and vague to me. I am not sure what exactly I was hoping for, but the ending just didn’t sparkle the way the beginning did. All in all, it was a good book. I am happy that I had a chance to read it. If you are into witchlore like I am, I think you should put this one in your pile of stuff to look into. 3 & ½ starsI received this book for free from goodread’s first-reads, but that in no way influenced this review. Thank you to Grove Atlantic for the book and the opportunity to read it. flag 8 likes · Like  · see review View 2 comments Jun 01, 2011 Virginia rated it liked it I would have liked a whole book just about the Appalachian witch, Cora, but instead it jumps all around--from the mountains to NYC; from WWII to 1967 to 1980 to the present and back; from one person's view to another person's view to the writer's narration. In one chapter Ann is referred to as Mom, her mother, and Ann--I thought another character that I had missed was telling this part of the story. The book is leading up to two murders, but neither are convincingly pulled off. One murder is unr I would have liked a whole book just about the Appalachian witch, Cora, but instead it jumps all around--from the mountains to NYC; from WWII to 1967 to 1980 to the present and back; from one person's view to another person's view to the writer's narration. In one chapter Ann is referred to as Mom, her mother, and Ann--I thought another character that I had missed was telling this part of the story. The book is leading up to two murders, but neither are convincingly pulled off. One murder is unrealistic because it is supposed to be like the ghost stories one character hears as bedtime stories and another character tells on TV. The other murder is just unbelievable--almost like the author just needed to wrap this up. Also, other than Cora, I didn't really care about the characters. With the exception of Ann, they are all too self-absorbed. Oh well, two of them die, who cares, they won't be missed. The writer's style is intoxicating, which is what kept me reading this book. flag 6 likes · Like  · see review May 21, 2012 Adam rated it it was ok Witches on the Road Tonight is much like the monster in the Frankenstein film referenced throughout the book. It is an amalgam of different parts stitched together in such a way that the product is displeasing to those who encounter it. The portion of the story set in 1940s Appalachia was well-written and mysterious. Holman's description of place was rich and her usage of carefree WPA workers in an unfamiliar territory was a clever take on a classic horror movie plot scenario. The portion of th Witches on the Road Tonight is much like the monster in the Frankenstein film referenced throughout the book. It is an amalgam of different parts stitched together in such a way that the product is displeasing to those who encounter it. The portion of the story set in 1940s Appalachia was well-written and mysterious. Holman's description of place was rich and her usage of carefree WPA workers in an unfamiliar territory was a clever take on a classic horror movie plot scenario. The portion of the story set from 1980 to present, however, had the opposite effect of the historical antecedent on me. These parts felt like a familiar and dull story of a family in crisis with the inconsequential exception that the head of the household was a schlocky host of a horror movie program on local television (the less-busty male equivalent of Elvira). This character is the link between the good and bad halves of the story. The problem is that this character, Eddie, is the least interesting of the characters in the Appalachian setting. When the WPA characters fade from the fore and Eddie becomes the central focus, my investment in the story diminished. This section does not have the same tone, compelling prose, and mystery as its historical antecedent. Consequently my rating of the book jumped erratically from four stars to one to four stars before settling on the final number of two as the story jumped back and forth from one time and place to another. I might give Holman another try since half the book shows that she can tell a good story. flag 5 likes · Like  · see review Apr 01, 2011 Lauren added it Shelves: one-hot-mess Like the Frankenstein monster, the book is assembled from several plot lines that don't mesh very well. Her writing is fantastic, but it doesn't make up for what a mess this is. Later note - I 'unstarred'. Cathleen Schine's review in the NYRB and several days of thinking about the book has altered my opinion some. It seems more of an ambitious failure now. But I don't want my low review to put off anyone else wanting to read it. Like the Frankenstein monster, the book is assembled from several plot lines that don't mesh very well. Her writing is fantastic, but it doesn't make up for what a mess this is. Later note - I 'unstarred'. Cathleen Schine's review in the NYRB and several days of thinking about the book has altered my opinion some. It seems more of an ambitious failure now. But I don't want my low review to put off anyone else wanting to read it. flag 5 likes · Like  · see review View all 4 comments Jan 15, 2013 Elaine rated it liked it Shelves: 2013 This book started off wonderfully, with an intriguing setting full of menace (a sophisticated couple -- a writer and a photographer traveling for the WPA in 1940 -- get themselves stranded in a remote Appalachian cabin, with a woman who just might be a witch). Holman's prose is lush, and she creates some heartpounding scenes of dread -- there is never a problem believing in Holman's version of witchery. The problem is that the book becomes meandering -- we lose track (literally) of Tucker and So This book started off wonderfully, with an intriguing setting full of menace (a sophisticated couple -- a writer and a photographer traveling for the WPA in 1940 -- get themselves stranded in a remote Appalachian cabin, with a woman who just might be a witch). Holman's prose is lush, and she creates some heartpounding scenes of dread -- there is never a problem believing in Holman's version of witchery. The problem is that the book becomes meandering -- we lose track (literally) of Tucker and Sonia, the couple that start the book off, and Holman's family tale lacks focus -- leaping through generations and from character to character without quite giving any of them the attention the big themes she explores (jealousy, sexual awakenings, fatherhood, fidelity) and the colorful settings she devises deserve. The loose ends are a bit maddening -- you keep expecting that your careful attention to her copious detail and many recurrent images will be rewarded by a sense of closure, but I felt the book just petered out. Promising, but not quite. flag 4 likes · Like  · see review View 1 comment Jun 13, 2012 Cassi aka Snow White Haggard rated it did not like it Shelves: audio-books, read-in-2012 1/5 starsThis is a review that I knew I should write. However, this is a book that I wish I could wipe from my memory. Yes it was that bad. Sitting down to write this review has been a bit of a struggle. However I am going to try. There will be spoilers. I tried to avoid character names and specifics, but the spoilers are necessary to understand why I feel so strongly about this book.I picked up Witches on the Road Tonight because I always find myself looking for books with Appalachian roots. We 1/5 starsThis is a review that I knew I should write. However, this is a book that I wish I could wipe from my memory. Yes it was that bad. Sitting down to write this review has been a bit of a struggle. However I am going to try. There will be spoilers. I tried to avoid character names and specifics, but the spoilers are necessary to understand why I feel so strongly about this book.I picked up Witches on the Road Tonight because I always find myself looking for books with Appalachian roots. We have a great storytelling tradition and rich legends in these hills. But these books almost always disappoint me. This might be the most disappointing yet.This book tries too hard to be literary. The story alternates between the past and the present. In the past it struggles to find a child's voice, making a unbelievably grown-up, too sexually aware version of an adolescent girl especially considering those sections take place in the past.This book wanted to be edgy and provocative, throwing in everything from witchcraft, women who love sex, to abortion, to homosexuality. There are at least two very disturbing scenes, one where a young teen throws himself naked at his father-figure who suddenly realizes he's gay. I don't like the implied connection between homosexuality and pedophilia, even though I doubt that's what the author meant. It just makes me uncomfortable and not in the "testing the boundaries of my beliefs" way but in the "that's beyond creepy" way. There is also a horrible scene where a woman who's pregnant either has a herbal abortion or miscarries (the book leaves that up to the reader) and it graphically describes her celebrating as the blood flows out. I don't care whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, that's gross.The adult-child relationships were pretty much all unhealthy. Here is a quote, most likely not exact because I listened to the audiobook but the gist is the same."Cora is drawing him a bath, almost flirtatiously, the way women do with their grown sons." This section was either a flash of the future or a daydream or something, once again the book was unclear, but it was confusing and made me very uncomfortable. There is more I could say. The characters are unlikable and the plot plodding. The audiobook narrator's Appalachian accent was somewhat offensively overdone. But when I remember reading the book, those are annoyances when compared to horrible attempts to be edgy and the disturbing imagery that I want to erase from my mind. Just don't read it. flag 3 likes · Like  · see review Oct 26, 2013 Jamie rated it it was ok Shelves: fantasy, historical This was one of the more weird and anti-climatic books I've ever read. It left me still wondering what happened to a certain character in the end, maybe even more than one character. It was actually very well written with great thoughts about human nature. The parts I didn't like were about ALL the characters behaviors. They were all well developed, but heartless and I didn't like any of their morals. NONE of them. It is about a family of poor Appalachia decent, that has legends and stories in t This was one of the more weird and anti-climatic books I've ever read. It left me still wondering what happened to a certain character in the end, maybe even more than one character. It was actually very well written with great thoughts about human nature. The parts I didn't like were about ALL the characters behaviors. They were all well developed, but heartless and I didn't like any of their morals. NONE of them. It is about a family of poor Appalachia decent, that has legends and stories in their families about witches. The boy and his mother (the witch) grow up in a shack of the mountains. The boy grows up to host a horror Friday night movie every week. It hops back and forth in time with him and his mother and then his daughter, Wallace growing up with him as her dad. It also goes into her briefly as an adult, she is telling most of the story. Anyway, I was very into the story, because it was one that gave a huge piece of info about the ending, right at the beginning. But in the end I said, "What? That's it? What happened to the details about peoples lives and how they ended there?" I was annoyed. Like I said, it was actually a very strongly written book, but I just didn't like the story or ending. flag 3 likes · Like  · see review Feb 13, 2011 Teresa Calhoun rated it it was amazing There's a primal need in all of us to live between opposites --as if we can only appreciate one end of the physical or emotional spectrum in proximity to the other. We come inside from a bone-chilling day and revel in the warmth. Comfort and fear are among the earliest opposites we experience; we cry because we do not yet have words, and someone comes and holds us close and attends to our needs.One suspects that Sheri Holman had a childhood that included sitting around campfires--experiencing th There's a primal need in all of us to live between opposites --as if we can only appreciate one end of the physical or emotional spectrum in proximity to the other. We come inside from a bone-chilling day and revel in the warmth. Comfort and fear are among the earliest opposites we experience; we cry because we do not yet have words, and someone comes and holds us close and attends to our needs.One suspects that Sheri Holman had a childhood that included sitting around campfires--experiencing the sweetness of a toasted marshmallow one moment and shivering in horror over ghost stories the next.Witches on the Road tonight is told in the glow of campfires and television screens, where contentment is always suffused with a dark underside of anxiety, love is aversive, and dread becomes an addiction. Holman, who has produced remarkable novels across centuries and continents, takes a look at the sinister whispers of insular communities--some with millions of eyes watching and others as claustrophobic as a secretive family home.Do not expect a feel-good family history here; Holman's deftness in the dark makes us appreciate the light all the more. flag 3 likes · Like  · see review View 1 comment Mar 31, 2011 Corinna rated it it was ok I picked this up at the last minute when checking out at the library... read the back and thought... hmmm ... interesting and so I checked it out. In my opinion... interesting would be a good word to describe this read. It is a book I will remember... but I glad to be done with it. At times it was frustrating to me due to the time warp back and forth... I found it hard to follow. At about half way through I read the synopsis again... to get a better idea of where the story might be going. I was I picked this up at the last minute when checking out at the library... read the back and thought... hmmm ... interesting and so I checked it out. In my opinion... interesting would be a good word to describe this read. It is a book I will remember... but I glad to be done with it. At times it was frustrating to me due to the time warp back and forth... I found it hard to follow. At about half way through I read the synopsis again... to get a better idea of where the story might be going. I was disappointed in the ending... and some what shocked by some of the developments. It also seemed to blur what really happened from time to time... almost like the author forgot where she was going with the story. I would probably give it a 2.5. I am glad I read it but for the love of God thank goodness I am finally done with this book. flag 3 likes · Like  · see review View 1 comment Oct 19, 2011 Alanahurley rated it liked it So, to quote a certain failed Congressional wannabe, I am not a witch, nor have I ever been one. Right? Because they're all, we're going to meet over here at midnight, and I'm eh, no, I go to bed at 9:30. The supernatural life is not good for morning people like me.And anyway, I'm not sure what exactly is useful about being a witch. Flying around would be fun, I suppose, if you're not prone to motion sickness, but the traditional witchy things - withering crops, spoiling milk, generally being a So, to quote a certain failed Congressional wannabe, I am not a witch, nor have I ever been one. Right? Because they're all, we're going to meet over here at midnight, and I'm eh, no, I go to bed at 9:30. The supernatural life is not good for morning people like me.And anyway, I'm not sure what exactly is useful about being a witch. Flying around would be fun, I suppose, if you're not prone to motion sickness, but the traditional witchy things - withering crops, spoiling milk, generally being a nuisance - seem more trouble than they're worth.Sheri Holman's witch is a beleaguered, poor Virginia mountain woman named Corey Alley, and she's simultaneously the most real and most fantastic character in Holman's mostly excellent but sometimes spotty novel Witches on the Road Tonight.Witches hopscotches from rural Virginia just as World War II is ramping up to the 1980s to present-day New York, unspooling a narrative between a father and daughter who have a reservoir of secrets and a lifetime of hurts. The book is at its strongest in the backwoods of the Virginia mountains and falters when it moves to the present, but is filled with strongly evocative detail.Witches opens with a suicide note from Eddie Alley, a weary and sick old man, to his daughter Wallis, a television show host. Eddie worked in TV, too, as "Captain Casket," the corny host of a horror movie show. Eddie finds a bitter humor in comparing his hokey show to Wallis' newscast, musing that her show delights in terrifying viewers.From present-day New York, Holman pulls us back to the fall of 1940, where photographer Sonia and write Tucker are on a WPA-funded trip to write a travel guide to rural Virginia. The assignment is a cruel joke - in a nation still reeling from the Depression, who can afford to travel? - and the trip has taken on an odd combination of honeymoon and funeral. Tucker's been drafted and is mere weeks from having to report. He and Sonia, the more worldly of the two, perhaps inevitably begin an affair that unspools as they travel through the backwoods of the Virginian mountains.Their fragile idyll is shattered when Tucker hits a young Eddie Alley with his car. Eddie's not badly hurt, but Tucker and Sonia take him to his cabin, where they meet his mother, Cora Alley, a woman with a spooky reputation in Panther Gap. Sonia and Tucker let themselves be talked into staying for a few days, with ambiguous but perhaps fatal consequences.The novel skips several decades, and when we catch up to Eddie again, he's escaped Panther Gap, married, and fathered Wallis. His marriage, already fragile, is strained to breaking when Eddie brings home a young runaway, Jasper, who hangs around the station cadging odd jobs. Wallis become infatuated with Jasper, but there's a flinty edge to her affection, and Jasper's intentions are murkier. When Eddie's marriage to Wallis' mother Ann finally implodes, Eddie, Wallis, and Jasper find themselves back at Panther Gap, facing their own ghosts.Holman deftly weaves the supernatural into her narrative, creating a night-riding witch and a possessed man with an aplomb that renders them completely plausible. Her writing shines at detail, particularly evoking the natural beauty and scrubby poverty of the mountains, lighting on details like Cora's two dresses and stained nightshirt resting on nails in the wall, or her rolling out exactly four biscuits.Witches' opening is strong, but the narrative loses steam as it jumps around and the fragile magic of the first chapters is lost. Holman sometimes strains to find the connections between Wallis and Cora, and the first-person chapters narrated by Eddie are meandering. The book ends with one wishing to return to Panther Gap's witch. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Apr 01, 2011 Terence rated it really liked it Recommended to Terence by: NYRB review Witches on the Road Tonight has proven to be as enjoyable a read as Holman’s earlier efforts (The Dress Lodger and The Mammoth Cheese), and I am looking forward to the day when I move up to #1 on my library’s hold list for her first novel, A Stolen Tongue.Holman’s novels, so far, have reminded me in some ways of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s (which would explain why I like them so much). On the surface, the three novels I’ve read could have been written by three different authors – The Dress Lodger t Witches on the Road Tonight has proven to be as enjoyable a read as Holman’s earlier efforts (The Dress Lodger and The Mammoth Cheese), and I am looking forward to the day when I move up to #1 on my library’s hold list for her first novel, A Stolen Tongue.Holman’s novels, so far, have reminded me in some ways of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s (which would explain why I like them so much). On the surface, the three novels I’ve read could have been written by three different authors – The Dress Lodger takes place in 19th century England and involves body-snatching, prostitutes, deformed babies and the early Industrial Revolution; The Mammoth Cheese takes us to the heartland of America in the first decade of the 21st century and has pedophiles, frustrated loves and the fate of small-town America on its mind; and in Witches, we focus on the story of Eddie Alley, from his childhood growing up in Appalachian Virginia just before World War II to his attempted suicide 60+ years later, and, oh, yes, his mother, Cora, who’s reputed to be a witch among the people living near Panther Gap.What they all have in common, though, are the themes of family and love and the price one pays to love. They also, as I’ve noted in earlier reviews, are ultimately positive affirmations.The best parts of the novel are those that take place during 1940 when Eddie’s about 12 and living mostly alone with his mother on a small farm in Appalachia (his father, Bud, is working for the Civilian Conservation Corp building roads). Tucker Hayes and Sonia are writer and photographer, respectively, hired by the Works Progress Administration to document rural America. While driving through the region, Tucker hits Eddie with their car, and the two wide up taking the young boy back to his farm, where they meet Cora. For me, these sections particularly were intense reading. The prose simply lifted me up and carried me away; much like Tucker feels when he dreams (?) that he’s being ridden like a horse by the skinless Cora.A lot of people will be disappointed by the ending. Holman leaves little resolved, and there’s little reason to believe that you know what happened back in 1940 or what happened in 1967 or 1980 or in the present day (the other threads of the narrative) but there are times when you want the ambiguity of Rashomon rather than the certitude of a more typical novel, and Holman successfully pulls it off here.And despite the ambiguity, the ending is – again – mostly happy:“Wallis, my little girl. Love comes for us all. We run from it, we hide from it, but in the end it finds us where we are cowering. We creaky old monsters are returned to life. That’s why all the best horror movies have a sequel.“It really wasn’t necessary. Any of it. All of it.“But thank you.” (p. 264) flag 2 likes · Like  · see review View all 3 comments Nov 16, 2011 Lori rated it liked it Shelves: bizzarro, fiction Witches on the Road Tonight is a complicated book. I think it is quite original although "uneven". I always try to read a book carefully and I admit to being a bit confused by this one. I am not exactly levelling this as a criticism. Gray areas are generally fine with me in fiction.Other reviewers have pointed out that the characters are not exactly likeable people and I agree. However, I found an affinity with Eddie, who I interpreted as the lynch pin who tied the many other personalities in th Witches on the Road Tonight is a complicated book. I think it is quite original although "uneven". I always try to read a book carefully and I admit to being a bit confused by this one. I am not exactly levelling this as a criticism. Gray areas are generally fine with me in fiction.Other reviewers have pointed out that the characters are not exactly likeable people and I agree. However, I found an affinity with Eddie, who I interpreted as the lynch pin who tied the many other personalities in the story together.This quirky and at times, memorable story opens with the attempted suicide of Eddie Alley. Eddie is a former weatherman and local late night TV host, "Kaptain Kasket". In the first chapter he is an old man dealing with cancer. His life has brought him far from his birth place in the hollow of Panther Gap, Virginia to Manhattan. He leaves a message for his daughter, Wallis, who is a well known news anchor. Thus begins a dialogue of shared memories and shared guilt about events long past.This story involves Eddie's impoverished childhood in the hollow...his chance encounter with a writer and photographer on a WPA assignment in 1940 and his mother, Cora, who is reputed throughout the backwater community to be a witch. Mysterious events take place when the writer (Tucker Hayes) and his partner/lover, photographer -- Sonia stay with the Alleys for a few fateful days.The third thread involves the story of Eddie and his family in 1980. At this moment in time Eddie is on the air as "Kaptain Kasket." Wallis is a prickly and somewhat spoiled early teen. And Eddie is married to Ann, a woman who is far above him in social station. Ann basically took Eddie in under her wing when he came to work at her father's TV station in the 1960s. She has helped to groom him into an on-air personality and has encouraged him to leave his haunted past in Panther Gap behind.At this point the Alley's life is upturned by the impending cancellation of Kaptain Kasket and the introduction of a troubled orphan/runaway named Jasper into their family. Jasper is a catalyst to stripping away many false layers from the life Eddie leads with Wallis and Ann. Events here come to another crescendo, mirroring in some ways the events of 1940.I have categorized Witches on the Road Tonight under my heading, "Bizzarro". However that is not a truly accurate description. It is not 'wacky'. It may be a little bit 'out there'...but not so much. This is a very interesting book and it shows quite a bit of talent. I just believe that many readers will not give it much of a chance because there is a confusing element to the narrative.I could perhaps relate to the more 'realistic' sections of the story because I am the approximate age of Wallis. I was a young teen in 1980 growing up in Cleveland where we had more than one "Kaptain Kasket" type personality on our local airwaves. Memories of being parked in front of the TV under a blanket watching some late-nite cheese are fairly central to my past! Thus, I may have responded to that segment of the story more than the average reader.Not knowing exactly how I feel about this book, I would encourage others who are curious to pick it up. It has a strange resonance. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Jul 15, 2011 Virginia rated it liked it Shelves: what-i-m-reading-in-2011 Just finished ‘Witches on the Road Tonight’ by Sheri Holman. It was interesting. Not exactly what I thought it would be. The story jumps from the past to the present and sometimes in between. It is the tale of a dying weather man, Eddie, who also hosts a weekly horror movie night on a local television station. He grew up in the Appalachians in a place called Panther Gap. It’s the 40′s and his mother is a reputed witch. He is ostracized by the local kids and while running away from a beating runs Just finished ‘Witches on the Road Tonight’ by Sheri Holman. It was interesting. Not exactly what I thought it would be. The story jumps from the past to the present and sometimes in between. It is the tale of a dying weather man, Eddie, who also hosts a weekly horror movie night on a local television station. He grew up in the Appalachians in a place called Panther Gap. It’s the 40′s and his mother is a reputed witch. He is ostracized by the local kids and while running away from a beating runs into a car driven by a man and a woman who have been hired by the Federal government to map the state and write stories with photos of different locations. They stop to help Eddie who refuses to go to the hospital, so they take him home. They should have dropped him off and ran as far and as fast as they could. But of course they don’t.It is a tangled story about those people and Eddie and his own family in the future. I finished it because curiosity about what was really happening kept me going. I can’t say I really liked the characters. None of them were really likable. All of them seemed to have a death wish. I was hoping it would have more mountain lore and less fantasy. I never really understood what the witch was doing, or why. I guess I never really understood that character’s motivation, other than she wanted to fly. Endings don’t always have to be satisfactory but when everything was tied up at the end, it left me wanting further explanation. I was left too unsure about some of the story lines so felt unsatisfied. I do think this author is a good writer. She is able to tell a story and weave the story lines. This one just felt like it ended with too many knots going no where.I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to those who like a little fantasy with their mystery. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Aug 23, 2011 Bondama rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition If I had not just finished reading "Once Upon a River" by Bonnie Jo Campbell, I probably would have rated this book more highly, particularly as they seem to be aimed at the same reading audience.I got the book from the library, having heard some good things about it, but quite honestly, the writing style simply drove me crazy. There are far too many main characters:: Cora, a mountain witch of whom it was said that she could shed her skin at night and "ride" any man. Eddie, her son who grows up If I had not just finished reading "Once Upon a River" by Bonnie Jo Campbell, I probably would have rated this book more highly, particularly as they seem to be aimed at the same reading audience.I got the book from the library, having heard some good things about it, but quite honestly, the writing style simply drove me crazy. There are far too many main characters:: Cora, a mountain witch of whom it was said that she could shed her skin at night and "ride" any man. Eddie, her son who grows up to be "Captain Casket" - one of those late night TV hosts who showed horror films while in costume. He has a daughter, and is trying to adopt a son, Jasper, who is a year or two older than his own daughter, Wallis.And that's just a few of the characters who are crucial to the story. Not only does the POV change constantly, but the time in which a particular action takes place jumps all over the place, in no particular or logical sense. The reader starts in modern day, then is jumped to the early 40's in the mountains, then again to 1967 when Jasper, the "adopted" kid comes into Eddie's family. And the book only becomes more chaotic after that. Understand, there is nothing supernatural about this book, despite the title. It a pretentious attempt at "classy" writing, all but begging the critics to fall all over themselves in adoring this book. There is absolutely NO emotional resonance at all. The characters apparently are going through some pretty dramatic life changes, but the reader feel absolutely nothing at all either for or about them.Skip this book, if you're tempted. I'm no professional critic, and I sure didn't adore it. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review View 1 comment Mar 22, 2011 Marcie Crandall rated it really liked it I am so torn by this book! I loved it and I hated it. It gave me hope in humanity and made me feel like all hope is lost. Even as I type, I'm not sure how many stars it deserves...I will start with the good. Holman's writting is absolutely beautiful. Her metephors are flawless. I found myself bookmarking page after page on my Kindle. Here are a few of my favorites. "We need only for life to teach us the humility with which to give thanks." "There is always farther to go and places you've yet to I am so torn by this book! I loved it and I hated it. It gave me hope in humanity and made me feel like all hope is lost. Even as I type, I'm not sure how many stars it deserves...I will start with the good. Holman's writting is absolutely beautiful. Her metephors are flawless. I found myself bookmarking page after page on my Kindle. Here are a few of my favorites. "We need only for life to teach us the humility with which to give thanks." "There is always farther to go and places you've yet to be.""Secrets are always hardest at the beginning. After a while they settle in, like the cavities in your teeth, and you only think about them when they hurt.""This is how my mother was beautiful," Eddie says, answering her earlier question. "You had to know what to look for."This is just a sampling of Holman's way with words. I could have read chapter after chapter on Eddie's childhood in rural Virginia, hunting for the sang and other roots and herbs for his mothers rememdies. But when the story moves ahead to present time with adult Eddie and his wife and child, the story gets all mucked up. This is where the bad comes in, and there is plenty of it! At times I really felt like she was adding crudeness and crap so as not to leave out the "edgier" more liberal readers. Why else would she make such an effort to ruin such lovely work?! I don't know. I'm so very disappointed and frustrated! BAH! RAYOR.....read at your own risk. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Mar 06, 2011 Kristin rated it liked it Shelves: virginia, witches, read-in-2011, reviewed Here's another one I was torn on. I LOVED the Virginia setting. She captured the mountain forests so well that I could feel myself standing among the trees, hunting for ginseng, listening for a panther. (There's even a character who's working for the CCC building Skyline Drive - awesome!) Holman effectively bounced around in time - 1940, 2011, 1980, 1967. The witch part was creepy, not like the bubbly witches you find in paranormal romances these days. The 1940 and 1980 storylines paralleled eac Here's another one I was torn on. I LOVED the Virginia setting. She captured the mountain forests so well that I could feel myself standing among the trees, hunting for ginseng, listening for a panther. (There's even a character who's working for the CCC building Skyline Drive - awesome!) Holman effectively bounced around in time - 1940, 2011, 1980, 1967. The witch part was creepy, not like the bubbly witches you find in paranormal romances these days. The 1940 and 1980 storylines paralleled each other just enough to make the reader really think about whether it was coincidence or something more. Personally, I kept turning the story over in my head for a day after I finished it. I think what made me not like it as much was a) it really made my skin crawl (and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for crawling skin), and b) her writing must have been slightly cumbersome, because an otherwise engaging story seemed to take me an awfully long time to read. Still, I think this was a good book and just right for the right kind of reader. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Jul 21, 2019 Annie O'Dell rated it liked it Shelves: 2019 I enjoyed the writing style more than the story itself. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Dec 16, 2020 Jenny rated it really liked it Shelves: literary-fiction, favourites-of-2020, witches Overall - 4.3/5Story - 4/5Writing - 4.5/5Character - 4.5/5Memorability - 4/5Enjoyment - 4.5/5Would I read again? YesI loved this strange tale of a family of witches. The narrative is slightly confusing as it jumps around from the 40s to the 80s to current day, but I thought each and every character was so well rounded and the mountain setting was really visceral. Sheri Holman's writing is beautiful and I'm surprised I've not heard of her before. I definitely want to pick up more of her work. If Overall - 4.3/5Story - 4/5Writing - 4.5/5Character - 4.5/5Memorability - 4/5Enjoyment - 4.5/5Would I read again? YesI loved this strange tale of a family of witches. The narrative is slightly confusing as it jumps around from the 40s to the 80s to current day, but I thought each and every character was so well rounded and the mountain setting was really visceral. Sheri Holman's writing is beautiful and I'm surprised I've not heard of her before. I definitely want to pick up more of her work. If you like slightly strange, meandering tales, particularly about witches, then I can highly recommend. flag 1 like · Like  · see review May 24, 2016 aPriL does feral sometimes rated it liked it Shelves: fantasy, soap-opera, awesomely-silly-but-i-loved-it, don-t-judge-me, mysteries-potboilers-thrillers, its-not-what-i-was-expecting 'Witches on the Road Tonight' by Sheri Holman is majestic. It is stunning. I was so surprised at its page-turning drama and beautiful writing! Even more amazing it is only 263 pages long! This novel is pure Grand Opera, folks!The novel won The Shirley Jackson Award in 2011. It will not suit some readers, but omg, it suited me just fine as an entertaining mystery. For me, it is a jewel of a book - a well-written, dark fantasy story and a family drama with heart and soul. However, the story seems 'Witches on the Road Tonight' by Sheri Holman is majestic. It is stunning. I was so surprised at its page-turning drama and beautiful writing! Even more amazing it is only 263 pages long! This novel is pure Grand Opera, folks!The novel won The Shirley Jackson Award in 2011. It will not suit some readers, but omg, it suited me just fine as an entertaining mystery. For me, it is a jewel of a book - a well-written, dark fantasy story and a family drama with heart and soul. However, the story seems like two novels imperfectly interwoven together though, and that is why it failed for me in the end. Even so, the writing is beautifully atmospheric and the stories full of crisis.In alternating chapters we switch from 1940 to 1980 to 1967 to the present (2011). In 1940, a witch is behind a boy's family dynamics, but Eddie Alley can't help loving her - the witch was his mother, Cora. Eddie's father Bud worked for the CCC, one of many 'New Deal' programs, a government plan of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration to put the country to work after the Depression. Bud's work kept him away from their Appalachian mountain shack for years. During one of those absences, a car hit 8-year-old Eddie as he was playing with his friends. The driver, Tucker Hayes, and the woman riding with him, Sonia, are artists. Tucker was a playwright and Sonia a photographer. They are employed by another Roosevelt administration program (WPA) which hired talented out-of-work professionals to drive around the roads of America chronicling the lives of Americans through their art. Something magic happens between Tucker and Cora - but not in a good way. Nonetheless, little Eddie is now aware for the first time of another possible type of life because of how Sonia and Tucker presented themselves.Eddie moved to New York City when he grew up, married a classic middle-class Stepford-type wife (although she is very nice), Ann, and they have had a young daughter, Wallis, 12-years-old in 1980. Their family also added a 15-year-old boy, Jasper that same year. Jasper was living on the street doing odd jobs for the TV studio where Eddie worked as a vampire character hosting monster movies. Jasper needed a home, but there was a lot of tension because of his presence. When the phone call came telling Eddie his mother Cora had died, he has to go back to Appalachia. Things happen, and well, gentle reader, as people say, things will never be the same.Wallis grows up and she is a world-famous journalist. She thinks she understands what happened long ago in 1980, and she can't run fast enough from her memories. She traveled to the most dangerous places and took the most dangerous assignments. Now 40, she is settling down to an anchor position, married to Lawrence, with baby Ollie. But she can't seem to stop having affairs. Sitting in a bar, she sees her elderly father Eddie has called on her cellphone and left a message. His lover Charles is out of town and Eddie is feeling very sad. Very very sad. By morning, he intends to be dead, but first, he wants to tell his daughter something about what had really happened in 1980....An Appalachian childhood rooted in deep poverty, and personal family mythologies drive an atmosphere of tragedy and mystery. I think the novel very well-written with authority and energy. But, I have to admit it lacks focus ultimately, and I could not see a direct line through the elements of the stories pulling it into a coherent whole, although there are certainly many insightful observations. (I suspect there is supposed to be some points about family identity, and the monsterish black magic of love, and coming to terms with the unknowable or unknown made known, but frankly, I thought the message got very lost in various plot cul-de-sacs, if so.) It still is a terrific read and a fun entertainment! flag 1 like · Like  · see review Dec 07, 2017 Mir rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition Not a fan of any of these characters and as a result not particularly interested in hearing of the messed up lives they create through bad communication, selfishness and destructive behavior.Also, I found the male narrator's voice pretty annoying- like he was constantly running out of breath and talking painfully slow. It was somewhat appropriate for his characters, I'll admit, but ultimately was a distraction for me. Also difficult to listen to in the car, as he frequently drops his voice lower Not a fan of any of these characters and as a result not particularly interested in hearing of the messed up lives they create through bad communication, selfishness and destructive behavior.Also, I found the male narrator's voice pretty annoying- like he was constantly running out of breath and talking painfully slow. It was somewhat appropriate for his characters, I'll admit, but ultimately was a distraction for me. Also difficult to listen to in the car, as he frequently drops his voice lower than I can hear over the engine. (My car is old so this might not be a problem for most people) flag 1 like · Like  · see review Dec 26, 2018 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition This one is very well-written, but simultaneously suspenseful and not very plot-y. I never got 100% sucked in, but I highlighted a ton of passages & that’s not terribly common for me. Sometimes you read a book by a man & it’s painfully obvious he has no idea what it’s actually like to be a woman. He probably doesn’t even have a tiny bit of interest in what that’s like. This book is one of the flipsides of that, specifically a book you just know was written by a woman. Even if she’s describing so This one is very well-written, but simultaneously suspenseful and not very plot-y. I never got 100% sucked in, but I highlighted a ton of passages & that’s not terribly common for me. Sometimes you read a book by a man & it’s painfully obvious he has no idea what it’s actually like to be a woman. He probably doesn’t even have a tiny bit of interest in what that’s like. This book is one of the flipsides of that, specifically a book you just know was written by a woman. Even if she’s describing something you’ve never experienced or felt, it makes intuitive sense. As a woman it’s a relief to be able to put yourself in the author’s hands with that kind of trust. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Feb 16, 2017 Chris Qualls rated it it was amazing Loved it and told her so. She's a great author and respond to readers. Loved it and told her so. She's a great author and respond to readers. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Apr 18, 2011 Lora King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition Shelves: fiction This is not about witches. It's more a ghost story. A 1940 backwoods mother tells her son ghost stories instead of bedtime stories...and how much is real and how much made up it never told. This boy will grow up to be a "male" Elvira, hosting horror movies late night. He marries, has a daughter, and present day in the book, he is dying of cancer, is on chemo, and is committing suicide. Written from several characters point of view, this is a very good story, hard to put down. It moves from prese This is not about witches. It's more a ghost story. A 1940 backwoods mother tells her son ghost stories instead of bedtime stories...and how much is real and how much made up it never told. This boy will grow up to be a "male" Elvira, hosting horror movies late night. He marries, has a daughter, and present day in the book, he is dying of cancer, is on chemo, and is committing suicide. Written from several characters point of view, this is a very good story, hard to put down. It moves from present day to 1940 and the WPA project and to 1980. Easy to follow, it left me questioning what really happened back in 1940 and wondering if the stories told by father & daughter were truthful or as make believe as the horror films they both watch. I'd love to discuss this book at a book club meeting or with friends who read it. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Jul 30, 2012 sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: scifi-fantasy, grownupbooks This book was enthralling from the first page. Holman presents a mix of viewpoints: Eddie, a former star of a local cheesy horror show, on his deathbed; writer Tucker Hayes, who gets mixed up with witchy backwoods woman Cora, when he hits a young Eddie with his car; Eddie's daughter Wallis as a young girl experiencing her first kiss with a pyromaniac foster brother and as a cut-throat war reporter trying to escape her own demons.So good! This book was enthralling from the first page. Holman presents a mix of viewpoints: Eddie, a former star of a local cheesy horror show, on his deathbed; writer Tucker Hayes, who gets mixed up with witchy backwoods woman Cora, when he hits a young Eddie with his car; Eddie's daughter Wallis as a young girl experiencing her first kiss with a pyromaniac foster brother and as a cut-throat war reporter trying to escape her own demons.So good! flag 1 like · Like  · see review Jul 17, 2012 Brenda rated it did not like it Shelves: fiction This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was not what I was expecting. I was hoping for an atmospheric story full of witches set in the Appalachian south, but instead this was some weird book about a homosexual svenghoulie-type guy and an orphan who wanted to be his lover. Needless to say, I was disappointed. There was some witchcraft, but only a little. I wish this was titled differently. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Apr 27, 2011 David Abrams rated it really liked it Sheri Holman’s fourth novel, Witches on the Road Tonight, begins at the end of Eddie Alley’s life as the has-been host of a campy TV horror show writes what appears to be a suicide letter to his grown daughter Wallis. In this opening paragraph of Holman’s book, we find a good illustration of how the author of The Dress Lodger and The Mammoth Cheese uses detail to bring her sentences to life:Of all the props I saved, only the coffin remains. Packed in boxes or tossed in the closet were the skulls Sheri Holman’s fourth novel, Witches on the Road Tonight, begins at the end of Eddie Alley’s life as the has-been host of a campy TV horror show writes what appears to be a suicide letter to his grown daughter Wallis. In this opening paragraph of Holman’s book, we find a good illustration of how the author of The Dress Lodger and The Mammoth Cheese uses detail to bring her sentences to life:Of all the props I saved, only the coffin remains. Packed in boxes or tossed in the closet were the skulls and rubber rats, the cape folded with the care of a fallen American flag, my black spandex unitard, white at the seams where I’d stretched out the armpits, sweat-stained and pilled. I saved the squeezed-out tubes of greasepaint, the black shadow for under the eyes, the porcelain fangs. Of the gifts fans sent, I kept that bleached arc of a cat’s skeleton, the one you used to call Fluffy and hang your necklaces from, and a dead bird preserved with antifreeze. I kept maybe a hundred of the many thousands of drawings and letters from preteen boys and girls. There were some from adults, too, confessions of the sort they should be writing their shrinks or the police, and not a man who plays a vampire on TV. “Dear Captain Casket, Fangs for the memories.” Just as The Mammoth Cheese embraced everything from dairy farming to Jeffersonian politics, Witches on the Road Tonight is a novel which takes a wide-angle view of mid-century American life. Holman touches on matriarchy, Appalachian witchcraft, silent movies, FDR’s Works Project Administration programs, homosexuality, traumatic childhoods, and the fleeting nature of fame—but especially the latter. Imagine Captain Kangaroo in a blue funk after the television studio cameras have blinked off for the last time and you’ll have some sense of the malaise which settles over Eddie Alley after he’s hung up his Captain Casket cape.Witches on the Road roams across the 70-year timeline of Eddie’s life, from his childhood in Panther Gap, Virginia to his campy popularity in small-market television in the 1960s to the twilight of his life in a Manhattan penthouse at midnight. While Holman is good at capturing the spirit of each era, the one which crackles to life most vividly is the 1940s section, which opens with a WPA writer and photographer--Tucker Hayes and his lover Sonia--driving through the Blue Ridge region on a government project to document rural American life. In a moment of distraction, they hit eight-year-old Eddie when he runs into the road. They take the boy home to the ramshackle cabin he shares with his mother, a woman who has, to Eddie’s embarrassment, earned a local reputation as a sorceress:He hears the boys and girls whisper. When Cora Alley is mad, milk sours in the pail. Storms blow in from the east. And they don’t even know what Eddie knows. The men she keeps buried in the woods. Or how she slips out of her skin from time to time, leaving it hanging on a peg in her bedroom while she disappears through the keyhole. Still, is it proof enough? A boy never wants to believe ill of his own mother.Holman never comes out and says Eddie’s mother is a shape-shifter, but there is one jaw-dropping scene where Tucker, who stays the night at the cabin with Sonia, imagines he’s ridden through the woods by a very naked Cora—“a vision of blood and sinew, standing raw against the moon.” He hears his feet on the forest path and they sound like hooves. The ride is sexual and terrifying and, for the reader, completely enthralling.Holman never quite matches that mystical fever pitch in the rest of the book and I found myself wishing there was more cavorting by moonlight and less of a long subplot involving a homeless teenage boy named Jasper who works at Eddie’s TV station and worms his way into the family, a move which twelve-year-old Wallis finds both repulsive and thrilling. The Jasper sections are important to the outcome of Eddie’s life, but they don't vibrate with as much visceral narration as the chapters set in the 1940s.One of Holman’s greatest strengths is her ability to transport readers back to other eras through the carefully-placed details she slips onto the page. For instance, take this paragraph where Sonia, the WPA photographer is wandering through Eddie’s Appalachian home, clicking her documentary shutter at all she sees:On her dresser, Mrs. Alley has grouped her personal possessions so as to hide old water rings on the dark wood. A butterscotch Bakelite vessel for loose powder and a furry, store-bought puff for applying it. A man’s comb with a spine of white, compressed dandruff. Her leather-bound Bible with gilt edging, bloated from humid weather. A chipped bubble-ware dish holding four black bobby pins and a long curling hair.In these flashbacks which dot the novel, Holman turns every page into a Dorothea Lange photograph.The early scenes of the novel are the most crucial (and the most satisfying to read) because they document the turning point in Eddie’s life when, at eight years old, he sees Thomas Edison’s Frankenstein for the first time. By way of apology to the boy he’s injured, Tucker fetches his hand-cranked movie projector from his car, promising him a special treat. There, on the rough chestnut planks of Eddie’s bedroom wall, the two of them watch the flickering images of the 1910 film. “The first horror movie ever made,” Tucker tells him.Rising from the cauldron is a hint of creature. As Eddie watches, charred flesh attracts more charred flesh, it’s like his daddy at butchering time, tossing chops and ribs into a pail, rebuilding a hog in section slices. Suddenly an arm jerks up in salute and a misshapen head appears through the fog.Edison’s Frankenstein will haunt and obsess Eddie for the rest of his days. He becomes a flamboyant provocateur of the macabre, an Ahab always on the harpoon-hunt for Death, a guilt-dogged man with as many failures as triumphs. In the end, Eddie believes he’s just another misshapen creature rising from the cauldron.Horror has permeated Eddie’s entire life. Having a witch for a mother will do that to a kid, I suppose. Years after he leaves Panther Gap, Eddie reveals little to his wife and daughter of his upbringing by a woman who allegedly took off her skin at night and rode men like horses. When a teenage Wallis asks him to describe the grandmother she never knew, Eddie replies: “She believed in telling ghost stories at bedtime. I never knew until I met your mother that parents were supposed to comfort their children to sleep. I thought they were supposed to scare them into staying in bed.”Cora is also the kind of mother who gives her young son advice that’s as mystical as it is inscrutable for someone at that age:Eddie, you will meet people who mean something and you know there is meaning but you don’t know yet whether they are your ruin or salvation and they go underground and live inside you until they reappear maybe years, maybe decades later, but by then you have grown so much of your own skin around them, layer upon layer, you don’t even recognize them anymore, and that’s how you become your own ruin or salvation, that’s the power of not knowing what’s growing inside you, what you’ve lost for so long.It’s moonshine wisdom Eddie will carry for years, whether he understands it or not. He grows to be an unsettled man, a vampire who belongs to neither this world nor the next, a person who wrestles against a longing he cannot name. And that, Holman seems to be saying, is the destiny of us all: the struggle to save ourselves from our own ruin.This review originally appeared at The Quivering Pen blog. flag Like  · see review Jul 31, 2020 Rebecca Moll rated it really liked it The black and blue cover, its slightly creepy and suggestive depiction is not only a portent for this novel, but one for the reader's journey as well.Witches on the Road Tonight commands your attention at your own expense. It is the dead animal on the side of the road, the car crash you slowly pass, the black and white images of war in the book you want, but can't put down.It is the horror movie you try not to watch, your fingers parting for the tiniest of a glimpse. It is the fleeting mirror im The black and blue cover, its slightly creepy and suggestive depiction is not only a portent for this novel, but one for the reader's journey as well.Witches on the Road Tonight commands your attention at your own expense. It is the dead animal on the side of the road, the car crash you slowly pass, the black and white images of war in the book you want, but can't put down.It is the horror movie you try not to watch, your fingers parting for the tiniest of a glimpse. It is the fleeting mirror image of ourselves and the haunting monster within.And yet, crafted with such skill, every word leading you down that dark path, every metaphor halting you in the shivering shadows, that you can't help but turn the page, each time looking over your shoulder for who lurks behind. What lurks behind. What might very well jump on behind.Eddie with his boyish, big-eared earnestness, his need to be a father to everyone but never himself, Ann with her color-coordinated culture, her self-guided museum-quality art history education and honest-to-goodness motherly love, Jasper with his save-me-please hurtful eyes and acid jagged tongue, but most of all, Wallis, with her little girl heart, her need to believe in her father's stories, to save everyone and not be saved herself, buried under years of guilt and hard-earned adult realism.Wouldn't it be great if Frankenstein turned out nice?But then, where's the horror in that? Would anyone even stop to watch? flag Like  · see review Sep 10, 2017 Sarah Langan rated it it was amazing A very ambitious and mostly successful story. It gets five stars for its genre-bending, its wise, adult tackling of sexuality and identity, its settings-- all far-flung and utterly believable. The opening, in which a couple working for the WPA strike a child in the Appalachians with their car, it pretty great, as are all the Appalachian scenes. In the story, we follow the couple and young Eddie, who grows up to become a campy horror personality. The story is told in hindsight by Eddie's daughter A very ambitious and mostly successful story. It gets five stars for its genre-bending, its wise, adult tackling of sexuality and identity, its settings-- all far-flung and utterly believable. The opening, in which a couple working for the WPA strike a child in the Appalachians with their car, it pretty great, as are all the Appalachian scenes. In the story, we follow the couple and young Eddie, who grows up to become a campy horror personality. The story is told in hindsight by Eddie's daughter, who does so as an act of confession.The Times Review by Julie Myerson is pretty obnoxious, and I think indicative of the bigger problem Holman had to tackle here, in that she wrote something nobody knew how to market or on what terms to characterize it.It's not horror, but any novel that employs the supernatural can't for sales reasons be called literary. I'm reminded of Ozark, my favorite series this year (along with Atlanta), which reviewers loathe because it's not Breaking Bad. Why they want Ozark, an extended metaphor for marriage, to be like Breaking Bad, which had no likeable women, nor seemed to care at all about domestic life, I can't fathom. flag Like  · see review « previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next »

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