The Green Age of Asher Witherow

The Green Age of Asher Witherow

by M Allen Cunningham

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Supplying a quarter of San Francisco’s coal, Nortonville of the 1860s-70s is a flourishing empire in small, seeming to promise unending prosperity and a better future. But beneath the vibrant work ethic of its Welch citizens lies an insidious network of superstitions.

A missing boy first brings these dark undercurrents to light. Then young Asher Witherow falls under the spell of an unorthodox apprentice minister, stirring a whirlpool of suspicion and outrage. Soon Asher finds himself trapped in a nightmarish crucible, all the more excruciating because he himself could end it if he could only find the strength of will. This is a lesson the missing boy has taught him, and what he understands instinctively from the alluring Anna Flood, new to Nortonville, who with her raw sensuality and independence seems to offer some hope of redemption or even escape.

In this powerful debut from a young writer of stunning talent, M. Allen Cunningham takes us into a time and place at once gritty and magical, when the future seems filled with promise but where the day’s labor is bone breaking, numbing and always dangerous.

Gorgeously written, historically authentic, The Green Age of Asher Witherow is a novel of tested loyalties, of condemnation and redemption. The characters’ deep emotional lives are complex and vivid, fluctuating from the doomed to the transcendent. As he unpacks his heart, Asher comes to realize that all his early traumas have somehow bonded him to the land surrounding Mount Diablo and infused his life with an inward wealth—a treasure at which we can only wonder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936071395
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Publication date: 10/01/2005
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 709,080
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

M. Allen Cunningham is also the author of the novel Lost Son. His short fiction has also appeared in a number of literary magazines, including Glimmer Train, Boulevard, and Epoch. He grew up in California, living for nearly two decades in the Diablo Valley north of San Francisco, and now resides with his wife in Portland, Oregon.

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Green Age of Asher Witherow 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the 1870s, preadolescent Asher Witherow, being of Welsh descent, works alongside his father in the mines of Nortonville, California. Death, the norm of working underground, is a blink away as Asher sees first hand when he watches his best friend Thomas burns to death in an accident in an abandoned mine. Feeling guilty over the death of his pal, when Asher is questioned he denies knowing anything, which in turn adds to his remorse. Though lacking the slightest evidence, the townsfolk blame seminarian Josiah Lyte for the fiery death of Thomas probably because he is different with his Hindu and Buddha beliefs that enlighten his faith in Christ. The prejudiced locals do not trust anyone remotely dissimilar, but do nothing except somewhat ostracize the preacher. A few years later, Asher¿s twelve year old pregnant girlfriend and his mother die in separate incidents. Everyone blames Josiah except Asher, who knows the truth like he knows what happened four years ago. Though at times author M. Allen Cunningham uses lyrical language that seem out of place for graphic scenes, historical readers will appreciate this first person account by Asher looking back at the pivotal early events that shaped and hindered his life. Asher is an interesting person struggling years later as an adult with the guilt he feels over the deaths of three people he cared about whom all died when he was a pre-teen. THE GREEN AGE OF ASHER WITHEROW furbishes a compelling look at first and second generation late nineteenth century Welsh-Americans working the mines that as the protagonist¿s stoic dad accepts as all there is in life. Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
The early buzz on this debut novel serves up terms like: 'poetic intensity'; 'strikingly beautiful prose style'; 'unerring instinct for storytelling'; 'a startling accomplishment'; and 'lushly talented'. I will state emphatically that Mr. Cunningham's first novel is all that and much more. This is a literary novel in the finest sense of the word, magnetic and seductive from first word to last. Asher Witherow's story is told in first person. Young Asher is the only child of Welsh immigrants. His mother, Abicca, is strong, matriarchal. Father David works in the Black Diamond Mines circa the 1860s. Life is harsh and sometimes cruel for folks living in the dreary confines of the Contra Costa County California mining country. Miners work long hours below ground and their children join them at a very young age. Young Asher is no exception. He's a bright boy, curious and irrepressible. Death is witnessed at every turn, and stoically accepted as a necessary part of life in hard times. Asher's outlook is influenced by a young ministerial apprentice, Josiah Lyte, who wishes for the boy a better life. Friends Thomas Motion and Anna Flood bring life-changing influences to Asher's world. Present throughout is a strong sense of time and place, beautifully expressed. The elderly Asher recounts his life in retrospect. His own words state best what life has been. '...I know the great black hole won't receive me till I've tied my guts into sailor's knots over regrets and dreams and other torments I'm helpless to alter.' It's impossible to adequately review such excellence. I've given you the bare essence of The Green Age of Asher Witherow. Readers who appreciate fine literary fiction or the classics simply must read this book. Those who enjoy American history and well written tales will find it exemplary. This is a book to be savored, written by a gifted wordsmith. It has my highest recommendation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up an advance-reader's paperback copy from my local bookstore on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. The book has a lot of depth and I found myself sucked right into the story. It was one of those books that leaves you feeling very satisfied. Does anyone know of anything else by this author?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks. Gathering time!)sedgepaw ran into a rabbit, shocked. She dashed after it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He shrugged. "I am young, and don't know what to do the rest of my life. I can't have a mate is against the rules I agreed to when I was a rouge. Don't let love get to you before your 25th moon." He explained.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Okay. I'll move it tomorrow then)