“From now on, there are bound to be two classics of the Great Depression—The Grapes of Wrath and Hardcastle.” —Los Angeles Times
In 1931 William Music is making his way back home to Virginia when he hops off a freight train in Switch County, Kentucky, to find something to eat. For eleven cents—all the money in his pocket—he buys a soda bottle’s worth of moonshine. Farther down the road, he takes two turnips and a handful of string beans from a kitchen garden and beds down for the night in a haystack. It is still dark out when he wakes up to a dog licking his forehead and a man pointing a pistol in his face.
Despite the awkward introduction, Music and Regus Bone are soon friends. Bone is a guard at Hardcastle Coal Co., whose owner will do anything to keep his employees from unionizing. For the irresistible wage of three dollars a day, Music—outfitted with an ancient, misfiring revolver and a holster made from a feed sack—hires on as a watchman despite his queasy feelings about the job. His attraction to the young widow of a miner killed by a former guard only deepens his discomfort, and when he and Bone catch a pair of union organizers, they make a decision that will change their lives and Switch County forever.
Inspired by real events, Hardcastle is a stirring tribute to the power of friendship and family in a time and place in which the price of integrity is more than a man on his own can bear.
About the author
John Yount is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: Wolf at the Door, The Trapper’s Last Shot, Hardcastle, Toots in Solitude, and Thief of Dreams. A longtime professor at the University of New Hampshire, he has been the recipient of grants from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. According to John Irving, Yount is “a completely original voice in contemporary American fiction.”
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