Arts & Leisure

Book review: Damnation Spring — by Ash Davidson


Be prepared to fall hard, fast and deep for the people who inhabit this debut novel by Ash Davidson as they navigate changing livelihoods, a changing climate, and changing families. Rich Gundersen, his wife Colleen, and their son Chub, make their home beneath a swath of ancient Redwoods — Damnation Grove and the 24-7 Ridge, a logger’s dream — in a Pacific Northwest logging town in California. Rich takes the biggest risk of his life to secure a future for his family, as generations of his family and the families of their town, did so before him. Colleen, unaware of Rich’s wager, exposes the lumber company’s culpability in the rising and unexplained number of stillbirths in the people and animals that struggle to survive in the environment made toxic by the pesticides the company has used for years. With rich, broad strokes that instantly illuminate the setting combined with small, intimate details that bring the story to life, this novel is immersive, expansive, and exhilarating to read. The nuanced effects of these devastating climate changes, and their enormous economic impacts on the lives of the residents, are expertly intertwined. Just incredible. I loved it, I can’t imagine any readers will be disappointed. 

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.


Climate Fiction: 9 Books That Can Save the Planet

Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler

After the Flood, by Kassandra Montag

Appleseed, by Matt Bell

Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy

Hummingbird Salamander, by Jeff VanderMeer

The Disaster Tourist, by Yun Ko-eun

The Inland Sea, by Madeleine Watts

Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver

Seed Keeper, by Diane Wilson

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