The Coldest Night
Apr 10, 2012
By Robert Olmstead
Hardback , 304 pages
ISBN: 9781616200435 (161620043X)
Published by Algonquin Books
Publication Date: April, 2012
I adore Robert Olmstead's books. They are not sweet. They are not pretty. They are not even neat and tidy. They are dark, gritty, dirty, sad, desolate and despairing. But they do grab a reader.
This one was very dark to me. Poor little hayseed Henry is a boy with a simple life. He goes to school, lives quietly with his mother and plays baseball. He happens upon a stable that needs a hand and after he accepts that job, his life quickly spirals out of control,all at a very tender age.
He meets Mercy - poor little rich girl. Daddy's a bad man. Mercy has an itch to be free and do what she wants. Henry's in lust.
The next thing Henry knows, he's running away to New Orleans with Mercy, who's in constant fear that her daddy will find them. Then one day......he does.
After events that make Henry fear for his life, he wanders lost and wounded straight into the Marines. Once repaired from the damage inflicted by Mercy's father he finds himself smack dab in the middle of the Korean War. As you can imagine, this also does not go all that well for Henry.
The book is laid out in 3 parts. Mercy, Korea, and after. The timeline is quick and it's amazing how much can happen to poor Henry in such a short time.
Then ending keeps you hanging.. but that's also part of life and it works well in this story.
Reviewed by Idgie. If you would like to have the Dew review a book, please contact me at email@example.com