• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

This literary fiction from Ash Davidson is wonderfully wrought, with lots of tense undercurrents, heartbreaking situations, and few, if any, black-and-white answers.

Rich Gunderson has been carving out a living logging in the Pacific Northwest for his whole life, just like his father before him and generations of family--many who died on the job--before that.

But it's 1977, and things are changing. Rich's livelihood feels on the verge of becoming obsolete as the heavily harvested woods dwindle. He makes a desperate bid to make his own way by investing heavily into logging a corner of the forest.

Meanwhile, environmentalists are fighting to stop logging and preserve the trees; a former resident with links to Rich's wife Colleen returns to town as a scientist researching water contamination and links to local health issues; and Rich's ability to earn back any of the savings he sunk into buying the woods seems in jeopardy. Rich and Colleen's relationship is strained by their many miscarriages and disagreements about their future.

Damnation Spring is a roller coaster of a book. Author Ash Davidson lays out secrets, money woes, an old flame, a domineering sister, foolish relatives, dangerous and backbreaking work, brushes with disaster, the stress of straddling ecological responsibility and the demands human consumption, and overreaching uncertainty. Every character grapples with obligation, safety, and family issues.

This literary fiction from Ash Davidson is wonderfully wrought, with lots of tense undercurrents, a growing sense of being trapped in an impossible situation, heartbreaking horrors, and few, if any, black-and-white answers--Davidson presents fascinating gray areas instead. The setting is lush and captivating and feels like its own character.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

This is Ash Davidson's first book.

I mentioned Damnation Spring along with Tokyo Ever After and Good Girl, Bad Blood in the Greedy Reading List Three Books I'm Reading Now, 9/3/21.