So, Pantheon Books is thoroughly excellent. When I emailed them asking whether they had any books I could review, publicist Josefine Kals emailed me back almost immediately going, “You live in Indiana? I have the PERFECT book for you!” And she was absolutely right. I don’t have a lot of state pride. Well, I didn’t before reading this book. And then I realized how much of a soft spot I have for Indiana after all. Oh, and she also offered to let me do a feature on it at some point, so keep your eyes peeled for that, too!
Here’s the review:
It’s happened, folks. Someone wrote a book and based it in Indiana. And Pantheon Books (a Random House publisher) is publishing it in April of this year. AND it’s good. Don’t believe me? Well, make sure you pick up a copy of Brian Kimberling’s debut novel Snapper when it hits the shelves in a few months!
Nathan Lochmueller graduated with a philosophy degree, so naturally, he scrapes out a living by studying birds for various employers. He’s in love with a free-spirited girl named Lola, and he meets charcters in southern Indiana that only other Hoosiers would really understand, including a woman who runs a diner in Santa Claus and answers children’s letters to St. Nick, a hunter who calls being savaged by an eagle “awesome”, a guy who turns into a cool-headed hero when a turtle bites off his friend’s thumb, and a hard-to-read man who is brilliant at trigonometry. Nathan constantly speaks of Indiana in sarcastic and negative terms, but his love for the state is obvious, as with most of us Hoosiers.
Kimberling, an Indiana native himself, did a positively brilliant job with this book. He usually sounds significantly more educated than the stereotypical Hoosier, but he gives a picture of the state as only a real native with a real love for it can. His sarcasm and random characters will make you laugh, his sharp observations will make a native say “Amen”, and at the end, his descriptions will have you at least a little in love with dear old Indiana. The characters were very real and definitely people one would meet here. Snapper is a simple, sweet, fun read, and its deeper meaning sneaks up on you and then bear-hugs you at the end in a few simple words. This book is a must-have for any reading collection, and especially for bookshelves in Indiana.