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Ohio author Stephen Markley

L team triggers the novel’s shocking climaxSet over the course of a single evening Ohio toggles between the perspectives of these unforgettable characters as they unearth dark secrets revisit old regrets and uncover and compound bitter betrayals Before the evening is through these narratives converge masterfully to reveal a mystery so dark and shocking it will take your breath away. Stephen Markley s first fiction book OHIO is definitely not for the faint of heart Having written previous non fiction books Markley undertakes an ambitious project writing about a rural Northeaster Ohio town suffering from the Great Recession the opioid crisis and the after effects of 911OHIO centers around the story of four high school friends who are reunited a decade after their graduation It also circles around the story of one of those friends who was killed in Ira In fact the entire beginning of the book is one long running commentary on the funeral parade for this man which occurs months after his actual burial and which features an empty casket on loan from Wal Mart There were many part of this exegesis that reminded me of Garrison Keillor and his Tales of Lake Wobegon The writing flows with excess and verbiage that is both descriptive and well over the top To a certain extent though not as talented it also reminds of William Faulkner who could describe a scene to deathAfter this opening finally ends Markley presents us with characters that are uite nearly a stereotype for small Midwestern rural towns I should know I live in one and I ve known many from the area from which Markley is drawing his inspiration In fact Markley was reared in such a small town very much like the one he is describing but he has been living in LA for many yearsOHIO is an examination of the fervor that occurred in many small towns after the attacks on the World Trade Center Smelling blood military recruiters swarmed into these towns whipped up patriotism like a spell across the land Those who were poor bored or looking for a way out of these towns eagerly bought the lies that these recruiters were dishing out like candy As a result the Midwest now if faced with higher numbers of veteran homelessness drug addition to the crisis point and crime which is needed to feed their addictionsThis is a very dark very descriptive overly so account of war drugs addiction and despairHowever while I like the premise of the book my criticism is two fold Markley claims that the book is an accurate description of the war battles and recruitment during this time he also admits that he once was very anti war His anti war sentiments don t come through for me in OHIO His remarks about why he is not as adamantly anti war disturb me on a very deep level Americans only now are beginning to look at 911 as history rather than current events Any time an author writes about it their own biases and leanings are revealed The fact is many too many young men were lied to sold a bill of goods that were rotten and the war in Ira was nothing except a military exercise to build the American Empire You can not talk about the rust belt of America without directly talking about the massive loss of jobs the cut back in education funding the lack of medical treatment ALL courtesy of the American government The darkness here in my mid west is very real The opioid crisis is staggering But Markley s views are merely fiction added to the mix militarily accurate according to the recruiters with whom he spoke but we all know how truthful they can be For the record I m the wife of COL ret so I m very familiar with the military the war and the lies that were told after 911Secondly one complaint that I have regarding Southern writers is that they use thirty words to describe what could be brilliantly written in ten Markley writes like a southern writer than one from the mid west where words never are wasted and verbosity is uite nearly considered a sin This book is too long too drawn out too much of everything that is not uality Readers who think that the book is dark would see a fitting picture of the Rust Belt if they didn t have to wade through the unnecessary muck I wanted to scream edit Edit EDIT Sadly there was noneIf you want to read an astounding account of what reality is like in a rural rust belt town I suggest instead that you read Fast Falls the Night by Julia Keller It also is a very disturbing read but one based on fact expertly written and staggering in its accurate description of what it really is like to live in such a town as mineOHIO was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for a review of the book

characters Ohio author Stephen Markley

Idate reluctantly confronting her family and the mother of her best friend and first love whose disappearance spurs the mystery at the heart of the novel; Dan Eaton a shy veteran of three tours in Ira home for a dinner date with the high school sweetheart he’s tried desperately to forget; and the beautiful fragile Tina Ross whose rendezvous with the washed up captain of the footbal. NOW AVAILABLE 45 Stars Everybody knows that the dice are loadedEverybody rolls with their fingers crossedEverybody knows the war is overEverybody knows the good guys lostEverybody knows the fight was fixedThe poor stay poor the rich get richThat s how it goesEverybody knows Everybody knows that the boat is leakingEverybody knows that the captain liedEverybody got this broken feelingLike their father or their dog just diedEverybody talking to their pocketsEverybody wants a box of chocolatesAnd a long stem roseEverybody knows Everybody Knows Leonard Cohen Songwriters Leonard Cohen Sharon RobinsonUnrelenting pain broken people a country torn apart by recession and an act of violence against America people everywhere hurting the opiod crisis wars and the damage they invoke on those fighting in them who carry that damage with them after they ve returned home to this small town in northeastern Ohio they refer to as The Cane There are four who return there the summer of 2013 each having lived all of their years with this country in a state of war with recession destroying what was once the town they lived and loved in They have memories of those years and they are not always particularly fond ones although there is still an abundance of nostalgia for this place it is riddled with the pain of the scars that they carry and yet it is still a part of them HomeThis story begins with the prelude with a funeral procession carrying an empty coffin loaned by Walmart draped with an American flag is being carried on a flatbed trailer down the street when the breeze went from calm to that high almost whistling shriek carrying the stars and stripes off in a frenzy of gusts and swirls until the knobby contorted branch managed to capture it This small town was America as red white and blue on this day as any other with small flags carefully positioned every fifteen feet than a mile leading up to the town suare Children walked with small flags in their grasp and flags waved from the backs of bikesRegrets and secrets are carried on the wind but never leave them everywhere they look they are reminded of memories loaded with shame humiliation resentment rage ugliness and a vague wistfulness for something that never was for them A promise of a life with and a need to hold someone something accountableThis is a beautifully written if very bleak story about the towns cities and people left behind marginalized after everything collapsed When your life the life you knew is ripped away leaving only a shell of what you knew despair anger and resentment fills in the empty spaces When that becomes your everyday life it isn t easy to live with when every day is filled with despair On some level you must rail against the injustice of it all or just fold but even that doesn t last long until it s replaced by another emotion Underneath this heartbreaking story is a commentary critiue of our current society as viewed through the eyes of these people this place but it could be anyplace This was not an easy read for me especially in the beginning but I am so happy that I stuck with it Before long I didn t want to put this down I re read sections over and over not because I didn t understand them but because Markley writes so beautifully and in his debut Stephen Markley has written a story that will have you thinking about America s present circumstances about our towns and people A discerning and disturbing story of these seemingly discarded towns of America through these unstable and tumultuous times To borrow a thought a phrase from Langston Hughes This town these towns these cities these people they too sing America Pub Date 21 AUG 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by Simon Schuster

read ¸ eBook or Kindle ePUB È Stephen Markley

One sweltering night in 2013 four former high school classmates converge on their hometown in northeastern OhioThere’s Bill Ashcraft a passionate drug abusing young activist whose flailing ambitions have taken him from Cambodia to Zuccotti Park to post BP New Orleans and now back home with a mysterious package strapped to the undercarriage of his truck; Stacey Moore a doctoral cand. Ohio by Stephen Markley is a 2018 Simon Schuster publication New Canaan OhioThe Rust Belt By now the plight of those living in a what is commonly known as The Rust Belt is etched into our consciousness A marginalized area simmering in hostility hammered by a stubborn economic depression and an unprecedented epidemic opiate crisisThis atmosphere is in the forefront than in the background as Stephen Markley captures the mentality of those born and raised in this environment Four high school friends all of whom took a different path in life all of them haunted by actions decisions and memories of the past compounded by their current day realities return home at the same time with shocking results The novel begins in 2007 with the funeral of former football star Rick Brinklan killed in Ira This surreal parade sets the stage uite effectively as the author leads the reader uickly to 911 the event that cements a before and after time frame for our main charactersSeparated into four segments giving each character the power of the first person narrative to describe their youthful experiences the angst of needing to belong the compulsion to express individuality or their forced conformity All four voices are connected by their upbringing their history and their knowledge of certain crimes their mistakes and regrets Their shared memories especially centered around rumors of and evidence of certain events that took place in high school still binds them But the unspoken jealousies and competitions build to a point that eventually boils over the conseuences that follow them into adulthood and will eventually bring terrible tragedy which now begs for justice This is a very impressive debut novel It is thought provoking with very strong characterizations and vivid depictions of time and place It is however very laborious and verbose perhaps in need of a aggressive editor Despite some clunky sections the author s prose is magnificentIn my opinion the mystery is not the most prominent element of this book even though it is firmly placed in that category In fact I wondered at times if the author intended to write a true mystery or was using it as a means to an end with a fictionalized social commentary being the ultimate goal Yet at the end of the day there is a mystery one that took me by surprise the outcome of which never really crossed my mind as my attention was diverted by the rich characterizations The story eventually merges the four individual segments with a surprising turn of events Some of the vignettes if you will reminded me of many typical small town scenarios not just those who have come under such intense scrutiny as of late I live in a small town in Texas surrounded by even smaller towns some which have dried up the same way those in the heavily maligned rust belt Factories closed drugs took over bored teens did what bored teens do creating cliues and fiefdoms and in a football obsessed mindset similar crimes are committed overlooked and unreported Some are trapped in a vicious never ending cycle going back generations with no end in sight and others got away only to find themselves right back where they started or curiously enough unable to find contentment in any other way of life Stiff conservative values hard wired patriotism and God and country still rule in the hearts and minds of small town America and God help you if you go against the grain with sexual identity or liberal leanings My point being that the rust belt in not uniue in this My next point is don t stereotype of presume this is a searing portrait of the entire state of Ohio despite the book s title The story takes a very long and rambling way around to linking the threads together perhaps too long if the goal was to keep the reader invested in the mystery elements But if you want to get a very realistic look at the issues that still very much divide our country dissect the long road leading to this point if you want to see why there is such a fierce loyalty to this way of life or if you just enjoy strong well drawn characters placed in a dense and gritty atmosphere and don t mind depending on those characters to carry you through to the ultimate moment of truth then the mystery which doesn t come on strong until the bitter end will be worth the extended wait The book is a riveting combination of narratives uite absorbing albeit violent and pretty darned bleak and melancholy So my only caution to readers is to keep in mind that small towns everywhere suffer some of these same plights these exact same attitudes and personalities but that is not a rebuke of all the residents or the state in which they are located and hope the urge to group everyone together in the blame game will be avoided Wisely the author added diversity to the story which hopefully will help to combat strict preconceived notions about rural or blue collar areas However it would serve us all well from small communities to large cities from the east to the west and all points in between to step outside our own insular world to consider the challenges and fears of others Compassion may begin at home but it doesn t have to stop there it is limitless 4 stars


About the Author: Stephen Markley

Stephen Markley's debut novel Ohio will be published in August of 2018 by Simon and SchusterMarkley is the author of the memoir Publish This Book The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote Sold and Published This Very Book 2010 and the travelogue Tales of IcelandHis work has appeared in Paste Magazine Slatecom The Iowa Review Chicago's RedEye The Week The Chicago Tribune The Ru



10 thoughts on “Ohio author Stephen Markley

  1. says:

    4 StarsFour former friends converge on the town they grew up in New Canaan Ohio Bound together for better or worse each have their own reasons for returning and each person’s story intertwines in a way that is

  2. says:

    I picked this up because someone compared it to The Big Chill one of my favorite movies of all time The book starts with a prelude a s

  3. says:

    Ohio by Stephen Markley is a 2018 Simon Schuster publication New Canaan OhioThe Rust Belt By now the plight of those living in a what is commonly known as ‘The Rust Belt is etched into our consciousness A marginalized area simmerin

  4. says:

    Where to begin At the beginning I guess Ohio is a sprawling novel that’s divided into four sections each told from the point of view of one of four high school classmates all reappearing in their hometown of New Canaan Ohio on a night ten years after their graduation The first section centering on an addict and left wing activist named Bill Ashcraft is one of the most overwritten things I’ve ever read I’ll include some choic

  5. says:

    fulfilling my 2020 goal to read at least one book each month that was given to me as a present that i haven't yet gotten around to reading because i am an ungrateful dickit took me six days to get through this book it took four days just to get past the first fifty pages and two days to get to page 20 In fact i considered grabbing a different book to meet my “unread present” monthly task worried that i wouldn’t

  6. says:

    NOW AVAILABLE 45 Stars ”Everybody knows that the dice are loadedEverybody rolls with their fingers crossedEverybody knows the war is overEverybody knows the good guys lostEverybody knows the fight was fixedThe poor stay poor the rich get richThat's how it goesEverybody knows“Everybody knows that the boat is leakingEverybody knows that the captain liedEverybody got this broken feelingLike their father or their dog ju

  7. says:

    Everything in life depends on the decisions that you make some important than others Sometimes the most innocuous decision has the greatest ramifications and effect on our livesOhio by Stephen Markley is a fictional account of a town that prosperity has forgotten New Canaan Ohio is a town where the effects of war drugs

  8. says:

    Stephen Markley’s first fiction book OHIO is definitely not for the faint of heart Having written previous non fiction books Markley undertakes an ambitious project writing about a rural Northeaster Ohio town suffering from the Great Recession the opioid crisis and the after effects of 911OHIO centers around the story of four high school friends who are reunited a decade after their graduation It also circles around th

  9. says:

    After chatting with a friend in great detail I've decided to cut my losses and DNF this one I totally respect wha

  10. says:

    “Ohio” is fiction that probes issues that have received a lot of news attention the past two years marginalization loss of hope disillusionment economic decline and drug addiction in middle America The personal fallout is seen through the eyes of four main characters in their twenties with flashbacks to their high school years who unexpectedly reunite one fateful night in New Canaan Ohio By examining these issues through fiction where i

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