Thursday, August 30, 2012

Auraria by Tim Westover

Auraria is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Auraria: A NovelAuraria: A Novel by Tim Westover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story begins with Holtsclaw leaving behind the civilized city to travel to Auraria, a once-booming gold mining town turned ghost town, located in Georgia's rural mountains. His boss, Shadwell, has assigned him the task of purchasing all the land in town - by whatever means necessary.

Holtsclaw cares only for money; he dreams of being a big business tycoon like his boss Shadwell. But the business in Auraria doesn't go as Holtsclaw planned, namely because the local folklore is still alive and magic doesn't respond as mortals do. With help from a quirky cast of characters, Holtsclaw realizes that life offers something much more magical than money or gold.

Much of the folklore is based on early Colonial interpretations of Cherokee myths, showing how the Cherokee left their marks on the land, even after the Trail of Tears. This theme is reinforced by Westover's use of the actual historical events that followed the Trail of Tears: the gold rushes of colonial NC and GA, the tourist trade in Appalachia, and a new era of industrialization. The reader can continue this theme by comparing and contrasting the Industrial Era and today's Computer Era. In a unique way, the story shows how time, and people, continue to leave marks on a place. The well of local legends is never depleted, but continuously renewed.

I received a free uncorrected proof copy of this book from goodreads first reads. There were a few typos/grammatical errors but Tim Westover assures me that the these have been fixed in the final version. This is the author's first novel written in English; this book feels like it was written by someone born and raised in Appalachia.

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