THE HOLLOW GROUND
By Natalie S. Harnett
Thomas Dunne Books: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Paperback date: August 25, 2015
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
"Brigid Howley is as unforgettable as Francie in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” and hands down this is the best novel of 2014." — Providence Journal
". . .the flap copy. . . compare[s] the novel’s child narrator, Brigid Howley, to Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and I have to say, Harnett earns the comparison. . . the most rounded, complete child narrator I’ve read in years." — novelhistorian.com
“The Hollow Ground recalls nothing so much as the dark and powerful dramas of Eugene O’Neill. . . ." — 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
"Brigid Howley is an unforgettable narrator who has drawn comparisons to Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird for good reason: her perspective reminds us of all the things we have trained ourselves to forget and not see, those things that make us treat each other badly and cause each other to suffer and change." — Leslie Heywood, John Gardner Book Award judge