Erica Spangler


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Smashwords book reviews by Erica Spangler

  • The Land on July 20, 2011

    Title: The Land Author: David Barker Publisher: Self-published Rating: 3 Shots of Espresso (Coffee Buzz) When the Southern grotesque meets the unruly West, David Allan Barker’s The Land is laid. The main character George and his family must deal with the demands of maintaining an organic farm in the midst of family woe and death. The Land goes between different narrators that brilliantly switch perspectives during crucial points in the novel. Barker invokes William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying with the grotesque elements, as well as, with the themes of death and grief. Barker, however, is a much tamer Faulkner because he doesn’t add Faulkner’s bold step to give Addie a voice only post death; The Land, instead, flips the Southern grotesque on its head by adding a Wild West flare at the end. Barker’s The Land unveils the ways people deal with death and how some grieve in rather extreme ways. The Land has to be read to fully enjoy what it has to offer. I don’t want to spoil the big story elements, so I will offer and encourage all you Southern literary buffs, Cormac McCarthy lovers to download David Allan Barker’s The Land now. The Land may not be for the light of stomach, but it will wow anyone who enjoys how the grotesque reveals truth. George’s family must conquer the hard reality of a family member’s passing and how it goes beyond the funeral into their dreams and organic farming certification. George’s boys—Justin and Ford—must cope and survive the self-destructive path of their father despite a learning disability and a passion for others, respectively. David Allan Barker’s The Land is sure to give the Southern and Western feigns a great coffee buzz. I give Barker’s self-published novel, The Land, three shots of espresso because it’s sure to give a buzz for those who like the grotesque genre. The last part of the novel—when George takes a turn for anarchy—lost my investment in the novel’s wonderful beginning. The unruliness at the end kept me from believing the validity of George’s move. There wasn’t enough in the beginning to set me up for George’s final acts. If you are a risk taker like George, then I highly suggest you read David Allan Barker’s The Land.