"This beautiful, heart-rending story of love and friendship bonds reveals the trials of being an outcast, and the destructiveness of deception, especially when it’s dressed-up as doing the right thing."
Set against in small-town North Carolina in 1951, Ron Rash’s The Caretaker is an exceptional novel. A perfectly-told tale of love and friendship, lies and loss that’ll have your heart in your mouth as it explores unbreakable bonds of love and brotherhood, and duplicitousness of the most despicable, destructive kind. Also encompassing class snobbery, small-town prejudice, and how some seek to justify terrible acts in the name of love, it’s a remarkably powerful read.
Disfigured by childhood polio, Blackburn tends the cemetery in the community of Blowing Rock. He’s largely an outcast, a young man who believes “the dead could do nothing worse to him than the living had already done.” When Jacob, his sole friend in the world, is conscripted to fight in Korea, Blackburn is entrusted with looking out for Jacob's pregnant wife, Naomi.
Also an outcast and from the wrong side of the tracks, uneducated Naomi is the reason Jacob’s wealthy parents have disinherited him, with the rest of the town also scandalised by their relationship. While Naomi and Blackburn await news of Jacob and her pregnancy blossoms, so too does their friendship, until an audacious act of deception tears lives asunder.
Suspenseful and stirring, with an incredible evocation of place, The Caretaker contrasts superciliousness and saving face masquerading as love with the real deal, and reels with truths about what it means to be a good person. I sure won’t forget Blackburn in a hurry.
|Primary Genre||Modern and Contemporary Fiction|
Closing date: 14/12/2023
Closing date: 10/12/2023