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Penguin: Putnam Trade Summer 2019

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The Line That Held Us
By (author): David Joy
9780425280287 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Literary Jul 09, 2019
$22.00 CAD
Active 5.44 x 8.21 x 0.59 in 272 pages Putnam G.P. Putnam's Sons
An accidental death, and the cover-up that follows, sparks a dark series of events that reverberates through the lives of four people who will never be the same again.

When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck, a kill that could make the difference between meat for the winter and an empty freezer, he never expected he’d accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he’s killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence.

With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only man he knows will answer, his best friend, Calvin Hooper. But when Dwayne Brewer comes looking for his missing brother and stumbles onto a blood trail leading straight back to Darl and Calvin—and to Calvin’s girlfriend, Angie—a nightmare of revenge rips apart their world.

A story of friendship and family, The Line That Held Us is a tale balanced between destruction and redemption, where the only hope is to hold on tight, clenching those you love. From a writer whose stories are “like a pull from a bottle of Appalachian moonshine: smooth and elegant with a punch in the gut that lingers a while after you’re done” (Garden & Gun), Joy’s book is another masterwork of Southern noir.

Story Locale: Cashiers, NC

AMAZING ACCLAIM: David Joy’s debut Where All Light Tends to Go received widespread praise from the likes of the NYTBR among many others, and was a finalist for the Edgar, Macavity, and SIBA Book awards. His follow-up, The Weight of This World, received blurbs from Megan Abbott and Donald Ray Pollock, and praise from the NYTBR (“Bleakly beautiful”), Huffington Post (“Darkly stunning”), and Associated Press. The Line That Held Us was chosen as a BOTMC main pick for August and earned lovely praise as well (see below).

STRONG FORMAT FOR DAVID JOY: David Joy’s trade paperbacks have consistently performed nicely for us, as the lower price point opens up opportunities for book clubs, university “one read” selections, and other promotions.

A WRITER WHO CONTINUES TO MATURE AND GROW: With every novel, Joy’s stories become bigger in scope and his characters richer, a sign of his constant growth as a novelist. Though set in the same geographic region, and with his trademark darkness, each novel feels fresh and offers something new.

DEEPLY RELEVANT IN THE CURRENT CULTURAL DIALOGUE: Joy has been noted for his strong sense of place, the importance of Appalachia in his stories, and for his honest but compassionate depiction of the difficulties faced by people in this region. The kind of hardscrabble places and people he portrays have entered the cultural conversation with recent bestselling works like Hillbilly Elegy and White Trash. For readers who want to know and understand these places and people, there’s no better guide than David Joy.

RECOGNITION FOR JOY’S WRITING ABOUT THE CLASS DIVIDE AND HIS MISUNDERSTOOD REGION: Joy’s recent piece “Digging in the Trash,” published online by The Bitter Southerner, received a nod from The New York Times “What We’re Reading” column, which called it “the prettiest thing you will read about ’us and them,’ ’class and trash’ and the power that comes from listening.” This praise goes hand-in-hand with the accolades from reviewers, who consistently praise Joy’s deep understanding of and compassion toward this region and the people who live there.


David Joy is the author of The Weight of This World and Where All Light Tends to Go, an Edgar finalist for Best First Novel. His stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in a number of publications, and he is the author of the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey.

Author Residence: Sylva, NC

Marketing: Regional author tour

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“David Joy’s novel brought me to my knees. Exquisitely written and heart-wrenching, it reminded me of Faulkner in its dark depiction of family loyalty—that ’old fierce pull of blood’…Joy’s descriptions are lyrical and lingering…In the end, the line that holds Joy’s characters may be fraught and frayed, but its pull is fierce.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Joy has proved adept with southern noir in his first two novels, and he nails it again here, in the actions of characters who act as they must, for the sake of family and friendship, given their nature. This is fiction as beautiful and compelling as it is searing.”—Booklist (starred review)

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