Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch
A Novel

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Synopsis

Following up Finn, his much-heralded and prize-winning debut whose voice evoked “the mythic styles of his literary predecessors . . . William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy and Edward P. Jones” (San Francisco Chronicle), Jon Clinch returns with Kings of the Earth, a powerful and haunting story of life, death, and family in rural America.
 
The edge of civilization is closer than we think.
 
It’s as close as a primitive farm on the margins of an upstate New York town, where the three Proctor brothers live together in a kind of crumbling stasis. They linger like creatures from an older, wilder, and far less forgiving world—until one of them dies in his sleep and the other two are suspected of murder.

Told in a chorus of voices that span a generation, Kings of the Earth examines the bonds of family and blood, faith and suspicion, that link not just the brothers but their entire community.

Vernon, the oldest of the Proctors, is reduced by work and illness to a shambling shadow of himself. Feebleminded Audie lingers by his side, needy and unknowable. And Creed, the youngest of the three and the only one to have seen anything of the world (courtesy of the U.S. Army), struggles with impulses and accusations beyond his understanding. We also meet Del Graham, a state trooper torn between his urge to understand the brothers and his desire for justice; Preston Hatch, a kindhearted and resourceful neighbor who’s spent his life protecting the three men from themselves; the brothers’ only sister, Donna, who managed to cut herself loose from the family but is then drawn back; and a host of other living, breathing characters whose voices emerge to shape this deeply intimate saga of the human condition at its limits.
 

About Jon Clinch

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Born and raised in the remote heart of upstate New York, Jon Clinch has been an English teacher, a metalworker, a folksinger, an illustrator, a typeface designer, a housepainter, a copywriter, and an advertising executive. Teaching and advertising took him south to the suburbs of Philadelphia for many years, and only with the publication of Finn, his first novel, was he able to return to the kind of rural surroundings he'd loved from the start: This time, in the Green Mountains of Vermont. He is married to novelist Wendy Clinch, and they have one daughter.
 
Published December 5, 2012 by unmediated ink. 417 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Kings of the Earth

AV Club

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Kings Of The Earth, the latest from neo-Faulknerian Jon Clinch, is a pretty good novel, but it feels oddly inconsequential.

Jul 29 2010 | Read Full Review of Kings of the Earth: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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In Clinch's hand, the four real-life Ward brothers become the three fictional Proctor brothers — Vernon, Audie and Creed — who into their senior years still live on the family's ramshackle farmhouse that "smelled like cow manure and dry rot and spoiled food."

Jul 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Kings of the Earth: A Novel

Dallas News

When Jon Clinch took a deeper look at Pap Finn (Huckleberry's father), the result was the nearly perfect Finn, a dark and beautiful story that brazenly appropriates the most influential novel in American literature and comes up with something wonderfully new.

Jul 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Kings of the Earth: A Novel

Open Letters Monthly

The class divide runs deep here, but Hatch is tactfully, genuinely fond of them despite—or maybe because of—their differences: Preston Hatch was leaning on the porch rail next to Creed, who chewed and spat into the dirt yard and gave the impression of thought.

Sep 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Kings of the Earth: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Jon Clinch’s award-winning debut novel, Finn ( 3 of 5 Stars May/June 2007), offered a portrait of Huck Finn’s violent, ex-con father.

Jul 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Kings of the Earth: A Novel

Austin Chronicle

For Clinch, the old saying is true: You never own a farm, because the farm owns you.

Aug 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Kings of the Earth: A Novel

Red Room

True feeling seems to be out of fashion in contemporary fiction, and fiction is the poorer for it.

Jul 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Kings of the Earth: A Novel

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