Publisher: Fiction Studio Books
Publication date: February 21, 2107
Length: 272 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life and death has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other s company. It s either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he s left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be . . . and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for.
At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, ASHES puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal."
This is the first Steven Manchester book I've read. Typically I read LGBTQ books and this is not in that category but I feel like it's a book that sort of folds into all the genres. I didn't know quite what to expect from this author or the story. My first thought upon reading the synopsis was, emotional. I wasn't wrong with my initial thought. There are all sorts of emotions that come out to play in this.
There was a constant twinge of familiarity when reading this book. I myself am estranged from my sister so I really fell into the brothers, Jason and Tom. No, I'm nowhere near reconciliation but there were times I found myself nodding or internally arguing with Tom or Jason. I understood far too much.
On the other side of all this was their father. They hold the ashes of a man who was truly cruel. Mentally and physically abusive. He had more love for the bottle than he did for either of his sons. There's a whispering "good riddance" that echoes throughout this book that this man, a tormentor, is gone.
Meeting Tom and Jason, they're opposites and it's very evident. Jason, an almost retired prison guard who drives a truck, smokes, and is gritty. Tom is a salad eating, prim & proper college professor. They clash over everything!
This is a book about a journey two brothers take and end up reconnecting. Of course that was never their intention to do so. Originally, it's the morbid curiosity to see what's in the envelope their father left them. Of course they get nothing unless they travel together to scatter his ashes.
I loved the writing. There's such depth and emotion in this story and in the characters. These brothers rediscover each other and realize different isn't always bad. You'll laugh, cry, you'll rage and get frustrated. But in the end you won't be sorry.
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