THE HOLLOW GROUND
By Natalie S. Harnett
Thomas Dunne Books: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: May 13, 2014
LIBRARY JOURNAL's "Debuts with Buzz" Selection and one of SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE's '5 Books to Read This Month'
Inspired by real-life events, the underground mine fires ravaging a Pennsylvania coal town lead eleven-year-old Brigid Howley to make a grisly discovery in a long-abandoned bootleg mine shaft. In the aftermath, old secrets threaten to prove just as dangerous to the Howleys as the burning, hollow ground beneath their feet.
An extraordinary debut with an atmospheric, voice-driven narrative and an indelible sense of place. Lovers of literary fiction will find in Harnett’s young, determined protagonist a character as heartbreakingly captivating as Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
“The Hollow Ground is a coming-of-age novel, a murder mystery, a family saga, and an American tragedy of an environmentally and economically devastated region. But most of all, it’s a painful and powerful story of love and survival.” —David Gates, Pulitzer Prize finalist
"A grand achievement, a story fierce in its honesty about family love and betrayal.” --Maureen Howard, National Book Critics Circle Award winner
“The Hollow Ground recalls nothing so much as the dark and powerful dramas of Eugene O’Neill. Cast in the surreal glow of mine fires burning out of control, its characters are both accursed and quirkily alive, with secrets from the past seeping into their lives like the gases that poison their homes. The voice of the innocent who tells the story is deeply affecting, making for a richly observed and moving novel.” —Rebecca Goldstein, Whiting Writer’s Award winner
"Natalie S. Harnett in The Hollow Ground has captured the essence of the people, history and culture of Pennsylvania's Anthracite Region, and how too often the small towns here, most notably the real-life Centralia, faced existential threats from coal mine fires that seemed to burn forever." --David DeKok, author of Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire