The Evening Road is the latest novel from author Laird Hunt, a well-known American writer who has the ability to capture both humour and tragedy in his books in a truly enthralling way.
This story follows the tale of two women in 1920’s America, both of whom hold secrets, as their their paths cross on the way to a lynching. One is Ottie Lee Henshaw, an attractive woman who is coping with the trials and tribulations of marriage; her boss is constantly creeping on her and now she is on a journey across the country to witness the execution. The other is Calla Destry, a contrasting character who comes from an area rife with violence, an area this young, black woman is desperate to escape from to find her lover, who has promised her a new life of happiness.
Both women are on a voyage through an America laden with fear and hatred. The tale shows the relationship between a patriarchal world and the female protagonists; a boss who offers a bonus if he gets sexual contact whilst on a drive, and the lover who promises a new life. These characters all build on an underlying story.
Given the subject matter, The Evening Road is quite raw and depressing, but it’s written in such a way that you can see the fundamental mechanics of 1920’s America. Hunt has done his research and is able to transport the reader, both body and soul, into the novel.
Although it left me a bit depressed by the end, it’s a gripping book that’s perfect for those who enjoy dark humour, dramatic storylines and a riveting American adventure.
The Evening Road was published by Chatto & Windus on 6 April 2017