Blog Tour - What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson
When everything you love is in danger, how long can you keep running to survive?
Life can be brutal
Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
Jack knew it
Jack Dahl has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he'd die for. Their mother is gone, and their funds are quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.
So did I
Ava lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one.
Did I feel the flutter of wings when Jack and I met? Did I sense the coming tornado?
But now Ava wants to break the rules - to let Jack in and open her heart. Then she discovers that Jack and her father are stalking the same money, and suddenly Ava is faced with a terrible choice: remain silent or speak out and help the brothers survive.
Looking back, I think I did . .
What Beauty There Is is a love story. And like all the best love stories it left me in tears. It's a thriller, that had me gripped from the shocking opening to the breathtaking ending.
There's a brutality to this book, a starkness to it, with the cold, unsympathetic world of snow, wind and lonely pines, reflected in the short, often blunt prose style. But within that, within Cory's prose as much as within the world she creates, there is a poetry and a beautiful tenderness that often surprises. It's an incredible feat, balancing the two so skillfully that you barely notice the transitions, somehow that short brutal prose has its own poetry to it, one that suits perfectly the world it's set in.
What Beauty There Is feels at times like it could be a Coen Brothers movie, one of the Southern noir ones, and I'm left wondering if the villain of the book, Bardem, is a deliberate reference to No Country For Old Men's Javier Bardem. Like him, Bardem is a cold blooded killer, a man capable of shocking violence without so much as a flicker of remorse. He's truly terrifying and gives the whole book a very palpable feeling of threat throughout. There's also Doyle and Midge, the cops, who have that comfortable charm seen in the Fargo police department in the film Fargo. The plot has Jack and Ava thrown together, with drug dealers, killers and cops all trying to track them down while they try to stay safe and free and a step ahead of everyone, and it really captures that Southern noir feel incredibly effectively. It's scary, it's exciting and it's totally thrilling.
The relationship between Jack and Ava, and between the two of them and Matty, Jack's little brother, is beautifully realised. There was so much tenderness there, yet also this recognition that these are people who've been consistently hurt and let down by the people they should have been able to trust, and what that means for their future relationships. The whole thing was heartbreaking at times and totally affirming at others and I just loved it. That emotional core of the book is just beautiful.
What Beauty There Is is stunningly beautiful, capturing perfectly a brutal world of an Idaho winter, with nowhere to turn and nobody to trust, with a powerful, yet subtle, emotional core.
I'm a part of the Write Reads blog tour, and was given a copy of What Beauty There is in return for participation in the tour and this honest review.
What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson is published by Penguin Random House and is out on 8th April 2021.