EW caught up with Maas to learn about its significance to the author, as well as the story beyond it. Home Books Sarah J. Maas enters House of Earth and Blood : Exclusive first look. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. FB Twitter ellipsis More.
Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Novel
Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion — also known as Crescent City — has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce's world crashing down. Two years later, Bryce still haunts the city's most notorious nightclubs — but seeking only oblivion now. Then the murderer attacks again.
And when an infamous Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is assigned to watch her every footstep, Bryce knows she can't forget any longer. As Bryce and Hunt fight to unravel the mystery, and their own dark pasts, the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir Oct 14, Sharon Huether rated it liked it Shelves: novel. Tike and Ella May Hamlin try their best; struggling with the elements, larger farms and Banks in the Panhandle of Texas.
Tike is never serious, always jokeing and teasing and dancing in the kitchen. He would always rhyme words to the extent they became silly. He put the rhymes into music. He never lost the dream of the Earth House. Feb 16, Ben rated it really liked it. There were some fine moments in this book, times when the prose was rich and gripping, when the characters' hopes and dreams could be easily sympathized with, when Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" and even "The Pearl" were sometimes drawn to mind.
But there were also times when the prose seemed painfully forced, when the dialogue seemed redundant the use of interjections by Tike and nicknames used playfully by Ella May. It is a good work of fiction at its core, the central theme being the couples There were some fine moments in this book, times when the prose was rich and gripping, when the characters' hopes and dreams could be easily sympathized with, when Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" and even "The Pearl" were sometimes drawn to mind.
It is a good work of fiction at its core, the central theme being the couples' hope to build a house of earth to protect against the harsh elements of the Dust Bowl, seeking a better home for their child and an escape from the life of sharecropping, where greed is the driving force. It speaks to humankind's deepest desires for security. It probably could have been a bit more polished than it was, but I think that upon re-discovering this work, publishers found it opportune to release it to coincide with the Woody Guthrie centennial. Mar 09, Naomi rated it did not like it.
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Predictable, boring, foreseeable in plot! Had it not have been Woody Guthrie who wrote the book it never would have hit my TBR shelf, but I gave it a shot because he did write it.
About House of Earth and Blood
My really, really bad! To boot, the book is written in colloquial prose style which made a book which should have only taken me about 2. It is only pages for cryin' out loud! I will say that it was a pretty risque writing for being written in Had released, I could have seen this hitting the banned books list before one could say "corporations suck! Mar 01, C. Take the same setting, characters, plot, book cover and the dustbowl colloquialisms.
Remove the names Woody Guthrie and Johnny Depp: it is unlikely that you would have read even this far.
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But Guthrie wrote presciently, breathtakingly of a topic that wo "I wish you'd think up some kind of a way to get us a piece of nice good farmin' land, with an adobe house on it, an' a big adobe fence all around it. But Guthrie wrote presciently, breathtakingly of a topic that would not rest and will never rest: the science of homebuilding. Only recently have we affixed the term sustainable construction , but the problem has been around as long as domiciles have.
Without the names Guthrie and Depp House of Earth would be confined to the vast archives of genre fiction. But indeed those names are affixed. And should we read it? House of Earth is slow with heat, sluggish with drought. We can count the number of scenes on one hand. In the first half of the book wheat sharecroppers Tike and Ella May Hamlin work, make love, and watch cars on the nearby Highway She compares the vehicles--minuscule with distance--to termites. The reader soon recognizes any discussion of rebuilding as pillow talk.
Ella May and Tike speak of a hypothetical adobe farmhouse the same way modern couples speak of early retirement in Tuscany.
The book's second half is set a year later. The rotting wood house sags ever further. Ella May is pregnant, and an old injury to her breast courses with pain. There is a worrisome spot where for months she believed herself only to be bruised. Her midwife is running late, and there is a blizzard on the way. As mentioned above, Guthrie handles the dialects unapologetically. Ella May says of a leg massage, "Gosh dern whiz a might gee ohh. Tike, you've not got the least idea how good the feel of your hands is.
It is startlingly personal, too, what with Tike's baby talk and Ella May's play-by-play commentary. Guthrie's intention here is clear.
Crescent City: Sarah J. Maas teases first book, House of Earth and Blood | mudywehy.tk
The return to dried earth homes--which are "fireproof, windproof, dirtproof, bugproof, thiefproof" and rotproof--is a return to paradise, and to the incorruption of childhood. But there are no easy answers or clear allies. Farm owners build houses meant to weaken and fall, government officials suggest farmers grow smaller crops, and the bankers foreclose on exactly those plots of land they find most alluring.
Private ownership means pride in efforts, but also exploitation and greed. Dirt brings produce, but chokes cattle during dust storms. Wind carries seed, but kills, destroys, erodes. Neither is the metaphor of bodily fluid as seed lost on the author or his boorish main character. There are moments when Guthrie's prose means sheer beauty: "spirits of the dead carrying their own dirt, howling, begging, crying somewhere on the upper plains to be born again.
When these three factors come together, the book is simply unstoppable: "there are a few people that work to hurt, to hold down, to deny, to take from, to cheat the rest of us. And these few are the thieves of the body, the germs of the disease of greed, they are few but they are loud and strong. And as one-offs go, House of Earth is unforgettable. Feb 27, Matthew Murphy rated it liked it. Woody Guthrie gave us some of the best songs about this great country.
He was an outspoken advocate for the poor and lowly who were struggling to survive. His words and songs gave us greats like Seeger, Dylan, Springsteen and others. That is why I wanted to read House of Earth. Guthrie has a way with words, which I know is an understatement. For the first couple of pages it felt like I was reading a long lost Steinbeck novel And Steinbeck is one of my all time favorite writers , but then it tur Woody Guthrie gave us some of the best songs about this great country.
For the first couple of pages it felt like I was reading a long lost Steinbeck novel And Steinbeck is one of my all time favorite writers , but then it turned into something I wasn't expecting, but I probably should have. I will admit, it wasn't really my cup of tea, but I must respect the author and his legacy. Dec 10, Carol Douglas rated it it was amazing. Woody Guthrie's songs stir me, but I was amazed at how beautiful his novel is.
His writing about what it's like to be a poor farmer in barren country in the s is amazing. The wind sings in his words. This is a hymn to the land and the people who live on it. His characters, Tike and Ella May Hamlin, have poetry in their souls and only a shack to live in.
They dream of building an adobe house that would keep out the wind, but the man who owns the land won't sell them what they need. Frustration Woody Guthrie's songs stir me, but I was amazed at how beautiful his novel is. Frustration burns them. But they love each other. Their words, especially Tike's, can be coarse, but they are lyrical course, they are real. Gurthrie's writing has made me care deeply about Tike, a person who I would shy away from in real life.
If there is a "hillybilly elegy," this is it. And because it's written by Woody Guthrie, it's radical, it's full of anger and the rich and the capitalist system. There are intense sex scenes from the husband's perspective, but they are full of caring about Ella May's pleasure and trying as much as possible to ensure that she has it. The editors say that Guthrie, because he came from the people of Oklahoma, understood their language and their lives better than Steinbeck did and wrote about them even better than he did.
I think that's true. I strongly recommend this book. Dec 17, N. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Had I not made it to the final section of the book and I did consider abandoning House of Earth numerous times , I would have missed the best part. In the beginning, Tike and Ella May Hamlin muse about their dream to buy a parcel of land on which to farm and build an adobe house, even while having sex -- for about 32 pages or so.
And, then pretty much 3. And, then pretty much all they talk about is the farm, their dreams, work that needs to be done and sex, sex, sex. There is one point, when Tike shouts at the house, that you get the initial hint that this moment is not about the house alone but an expression of his frustration at being stuck in a dead-end cycle of poverty, living as a share-cropper and renting a falling-down house from a wealthy man who is not about to sell a workable piece of land and lose his regular income.
I confess I may not have caught the meaning at that point, if not for the introductory notes, although eventually the symbolism is clarified. At any rate, Ella May is happy, even though she's taken a major step down in the world by marrying Tike and later you'll find out why.
But, in the final section a year has passed. Ella May is bursting with child. It's winter and Ella May is fiercely determined to make a new life for the family. Now, sharecropping is no longer a tolerable inconvenience but a danger for her coming child, who will have to live with dust and wind coming through the walls. During that final portion, it seemed to me that the that all the symbolism buried earlier in the book went from fuzzy to overt and I could look back at the story and understand how the adobe house not only represented their dreams but the concept of self-sufficiency as a basic tenet of life that all people deserve to attain with hard work.
However, Tike was so very, very irritating that I can't bear to go above an average rating, even though I felt like House of Earth was deeply meaningful, in the end. The huge amount of sex talk was exhausting. No wonder I kept falling asleep. I was so startled by the clarity of the final section and how it pulled everything together that I considered giving the book a high rating on that basis alone. But, I decided in hindsight it would be crazy to give a high rating to a book that fell into the sedative category till the final 40 pages. Nov 01, Patty rated it it was ok.
I must admit to not knowing much about Woody Guthrie beyond the folk songs he sang and of course, "This Land is Your Land. It is ostensibly a story about a man wanting a better life for his family. He thinks that building an adobe house is the answer because it will stand up the the ravages of the weather. It ends up being a four section, slow moving chronicle that mentions adobe houses at the most absurd times. The first chapter has a somewhat graphic and at the same time exceptionally boring sex scene and in the middle of it adobe houses are discussed.
They are discussed in the middle of labor. They are discussed ad nasueum. I get it - he wants an adobe house. Enough already. I just didn't enjoy the book. I didn't enjoy the characters, I didn't enjoy what little plot there was and I'm pretty sure I don't want an adobe house. It's a shame because the foundation for a great book was somewhere in there, the clay to make the bricks just didn't solidify into anything usable. Mar 18, Mel rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in , from-the-library , some-of-my-best-reads. I really loved this book and so I will leave you with a quote and few thoughts.
This book is not for prudes though; there are some fairly graphic sex scenes which I am sure were way ahead of their time for This book really celebrates life despite all of its obstacles. It celebrates love and hard work and hope when you have nothing but a dream and that dream carries you through day after day after day. The language in this book is wonderful and poetic and musical just like you would expect I really loved this book and so I will leave you with a quote and few thoughts.
The language in this book is wonderful and poetic and musical just like you would expect something written by Woody Guthrie to be. Here is the quote: "Just what you said. Because the earth house is so strong that it will stand for two hundred years. Because it is warm in the winter, cool in the summer. Because it is easy to build and does not require any great skill to build it. Because it does not eat nickels and drink dollars, and because it needs no paint, because you do not have to your heart and soul away and carry every penny into town to lay on top of Mr.
Woodridge's desk. Mar 08, Kyrie rated it it was ok. I don't know whether to attribute my perseverance with this book to my admiration of Woody Guthrie or of Johnny Depp I don't think I've ever read an introduction that had four chapters. The male lead was not very likeable. If he'd been my spouse, I'd have backhanded him across the farmyard.
There were times when I wanted to throttle the author and insist he take out about ten nouns from his sentences. Alright, I got it already. It's a book, not a song! Why they wanted a house of earth was i I don't know whether to attribute my perseverance with this book to my admiration of Woody Guthrie or of Johnny Depp I don't think I've ever read an introduction that had four chapters.
Why they wanted a house of earth was interesting and made sense. The rest I don't know. It's not an era or area of the country I understand. I really wanted to like this whole thing more. It was like reading an assigned book that allegedly had great meaning and mostly made me nod off. I feel like I failed the class. Jan 06, Jessica Buike rated it did not like it. I received an advance review copy of this book, so perhaps some of what I will bring up has been corrected. Regardless, I did not enjoy this book. It probably should have just been added as a discussion at the end for readers who actually cared to know any of the back story of the author.
Then, the story just didn't work for me - usually I love stories about the plains st I received an advance review copy of this book, so perhaps some of what I will bring up has been corrected. Then, the story just didn't work for me - usually I love stories about the plains states and survival, but something about this story felt too off to really grab my attention. Perhaps it was the raw sexuality. Regardless, despite my best efforts, I ended up giving up about halfway through and not finishing this book. View 2 comments.
Mar 29, Sharon rated it it was ok Shelves: my-book-club. Sooooo, Woody Guthrie wrote this novel in the late 40's. He sent it off to documentary filmmaker Irving Lerner to make a movie out of it. Lerner stashed the manuscript away, bless his heart, doing Woody Guthrie a favor bigger than he would ever know. This book was not or is not ready for the world.
Years later, Johnny Depp and Douglas Brinkley publish it, with a big huge introduction written by the movie star. Woody lovers like me see the venerable names of Woody Guthrie and Johnny Depp together Sooooo, Woody Guthrie wrote this novel in the late 40's. Woody lovers like me see the venerable names of Woody Guthrie and Johnny Depp together on the dust jacket and buy it up--hardback. Some readers, I'm convinced, get caught up in the excitement and gush over House of Earth as if it were Grapes of Wrath. It ain't. Mar 12, georgia rated it really liked it. Their struggles with life, yet have some fun.
I found my self struggling with them, particularly when it was time for the birth of the kid. Woody Guthrie wrote a lot of folk songs, one of which is , this Land Is Your Land pages written in This is a story of a couple who live in Oklahoma during the dust storms. Woody Guthrie wrote a lot of folk songs, one of which is , this Land Is Your Land, pertaining to the poor people in the lower Midwest. Dec 17, Amy Bailey rated it it was ok. Oh, how disappointing was this? I'm going to give Guthrie the benefit of the doubt, because I don't know that I completely believe he ever really wanted this published.
I'll also warn you, because I can't in good conscience actually give my thoughts on the book without spoilers spoiler alert: there isn't a whole lot to spoil. So, here we go. I absolutely hate Tike. As a modern woman watching the world hold villains accountable in the MeToo movement, he was the Harvey Weinstein of this story.
At first, it was a bit endearing. He's super horny and can't keep his hands off his wife even when they're doing chores on the farm. Annoying, but sort of cute. But then it becomes less cute. It's not just his wife. That poor little gal is later in the throes of labor and what's her husband doing? Trying to get the nurse to take a ride on the little Tikey in his pants! That Blanche the educated nurse tells him where he can really shove his little Tikey.
I applaud Guthrie for making Blanche the hero of that particular part. Honestly, the only heroic characters in this seemed to be women. Tike's wife, Ella Mae btw, I listened to this, so I'm not sure how the names are spelled in print is a saint for putting up with Tike and his complete utter nonsense. She's dumb as a brick for doing it, but brave, nonetheless. Now that we've talked about what annoyed me about the characters, let's get to plot.