Cover Image: Dusk and Ember

Dusk and Ember

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Member Reviews

The premise of this book was good and interested me immediately. My heart went out to Richard. He was nineteen and going nowhere in life. He was working in a dead end job and associating with many undesirables. Drugs were too easily obtained and his prospects were little to none. The books synopsis asks can a life come apart and be built again in one night and here we see Richard attempt just that. It's a dark book and doesn't make for easy reading throughout. It provided plenty for me to get my teeth stuck into, which I like and a lot to think about. I found it to be very thought provoking and it will stay with me for quite a while to come although I'm not sure it will be everybody's cup of tea.
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My three-word description of Dusk and Ember by Robert Jacoby is complex, powerful and dark.

Book synopsis:
Can a life come apart and be rebuilt in one night? 19-year-old Richard Issych is about to find out. One friend is dead—murdered by another friend—and all Richard wants to do is get to the wake, come home, and start a new life. But for one life to begin another must end.

Since graduating high school the year before and not knowing how to live, or even if he wants to live, Richard has wandered into the graveyard shift at a local foundry, a hellish world of molten metal, rote work, and no prospects. Drawn into a downward spiral of motorcycle gangs and easy drugs, he finds himself on the cusp of a decision that will change his world forever.

Part road trip, part boomerang into past and back, part wrestling with the forces that make us and break us, Dusk and Ember is a hard truth coming-of-age tale in dark Americana. This night, Richard grabs hold and hangs on for the strangest car ride of his life with his oddball friends on their way to the wake.

Dusk and Ember is a prequel to There Are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes, which Kirkus Reviews called “a confident, strongly voiced portrait of despair and the flickering light at the end of the tunnel.”

My musings:
I found this a remarkable story, though it did contain some depressing elements. Essentially a hard-hitting, coming-of-age tale of confusion, alienation and life choices, it's extremely well-written. 

Robert Jacoby delivers a seemingly strong character in Richard Issych, but Issych's fractured and repetitive thoughts are not terribly easy to read, and the tension that Robert Jacoby has lyrically and successfully built, just ebbs away. The novel is gritty, but I struggled a little to find a connection with Issych. His character was somewhat self-destructive, his mind in turmoil, made worse by his inability to decide on his life choices. The storylines move seamlessly between timelines charting different periods and memories of early childhood, and are skilfully executed, leaving no margin for any confusion. Although gripping and edgy, Dusk and Ember was an uncomfortable read in places as it touched on topics such as violence, envy, confusion, lack of belonging, and social awkwardness. 

Although with its good writing and descriptive passages, as well as a general realistic feel, I suspect that Dusk and Ember will not be everyone's cup of tea. Recommended for those looking for a powerful, slightly disturbing, deep read.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Cloud Books via NetGalley at my request, and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This book was one I had a hard time getting into. Not because the writing was bad, but because I had no reason to care about the character. I think maybe it was just too focused on the addiction for me to be immersed in it but may be a good read for someone else.
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Unfortunately, this was not the book for me.  I found it hard to follow, and so very, very dark.  I did appreciate the attempt at getting in the head of a lost and struggling 19 yr old boy, and there were some tidbits to chew on as the mother of sons, but in the end, I really just slogged through this, hoping something would happen that would redeem it for me.  Thank you NetGalley and Publishers for providing a digital copy for my review.
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I really had a hard time getting into their book ..very weird account of a couple of that was very off mentally .. I did try skipping around to try and pick up an area worth reading but couldn't find any at all ..
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"Melvin's dead. Dale killed him."

So begins the book. About nineteen-year-old Richard who wants to get through the wake and begin a new life.  He's not too happy with his current life working at the foundry.  He uses drugs to stay up and drugs to come down.  Richard is adrift. He really doesn't have any friends. He is a follower who is easily influenced by those around him.

"I see time, I feel it, I feel it eating me. It eats us all."

There are some interesting passages and beautiful moments in this book and moment which went right over my head. This book is told in many parts and at times felt philosophical having the characters thinking and saying things which didn't seem right for their age range.  Another review noted some of the writing felt like a stream of consciousness and I must agree with that. Plus, at times I was downright confused. This was not the book for me.

"Then Samuel spoke in his galloping way so that Richard lost himself listening to Samuel say that one with the correct comprehension can we have correct thinking, that dominion over your body is the essence of being a person, it is the place of rule, agency, and that your refusal of the gift is recognition and acknowledgement of the enormity of the gift and all its consequences and responsibilities and the weight of those, and that what people fear most is their own insignificance in the world, their fear of being another shadow in the world, a memory dimmed by time,"

Whew! This book deals with a dark subject and might not be for everyone. The writing style was difficult for me. Again, this was not my type of book. Some passages were quite beautiful, and the Author is very talented but mainly this left me scratching my head.

I received a copy of this book from Cloud Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Between the cover that subtly suggests something sinister and the intriguing blurb, I was drawn to Dusk and Ember. Unfortunately, those things turned out to be the best of it for me. The story is at times convoluted and at other times just plain confusing. We often get our main character's thoughts, and whether it's due to the drugs Richard uses or its done that way for other reasons, it feels disjointed and makes it hard to stay in the story. I did push through to the rather abrupt ending, and maybe this one just went over my head or I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it, but I really never got it. The whole thing just left me confused as to where it was supposed to be going. It is a prequel, so maybe I should've read that original story for some of the answers, but Dusk and Ember just proved too easy to set aside and too hard to pick back up, which doesn't give me a strong desire to go further.
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I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but once I started reading, I realized it wasn't the book for me.  The writing was good, it just wasn't something that I personally enjoyed.
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Whoa. This one cut close to the bone, and I had to take a day before reviewing. Nineteen-year-old Richard Issych, just out of high school, is emotionally adrift and socially awkward. Richard is completely unready for adult life, the plot shifts from different periods and memories of early childhood and its own confusion about how the world works, how to fit in, how to understand what is going on in his little world - moving to his dead end job at a foundry. He doesn’t enjoy the job there, but is slowly befriended by his co-workers. Unfortunately, the new friends come with an introduction to hard drugs: drugs to stay awake (Black Beauties and Crank), drugs to sleep (quaaludes). Still living in his parents’ house, life is miserable, and Richard doesn't feel he belongs or fits in with his family. And violence explodes among his small circle of friends, leaving one dead and another arrested for the murder.

Now about the writing. I thought it was brilliant, and call it what you will (postmodern?), Robert Jacoby got into Richard Issych’s head as well as my own. I remember how I felt in Richard’s position, with uncertainty and post-high school mental confusion. I identified with Richard and his thoughts/questions/confusion. Gorgeous writing, great descriptive passages, and a realistic feel all around. This book is probably not for everyone, but I recommend it strongly. I loved it, and because this is a prequel, I'll be reading its companion book as well.
#DuskAndEmber #NetGalley
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Dark. Poignant. Thought-provoking. Captivating and suspenseful  Easily kept me engaged throughout.

#DuskAndEmber #NetGalley
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Thank you to Netgalley and Cloud Books for this eARC.

I requested Dusk and Ember on a whim, despite having several other books already on the go. The description sounded great, the cover was intriguing, and it was different from most of my recent reads. 

Richard is a recent high school graduate working in the local foundry while he figures out what he wants to do with his life. He's also a steady user of Quaaludes. As his acquaintance group refers to him, he's their "pill man". Richard doesn't have friends, doesn't like his parents (often referring to them as "the father" or "the man", and "the woman"), and regularly shows his annoyance with his younger brother Alan. 
Richard's already confusing world is further complicated when one of his coworkers - Melvin - is murdered by another - Dale. Richard knows drugs were involved, but it isn't clear to the reader the circumstances of the night it happened. Oftentimes it seems as though Richard was there the night Melvin was murdered.

Dusk and Ember is divided into four parts - after the murder happened, before it happened (written as if a flashback - I think), on the way to the visitation, and after the visitation. Richard is a character who is easily influenced by others, as it's clear he never fit in while growing up. His coworkers are the ones who introduce him to the world of drugs, and who encourage his addiction. The way the parts are written though is extremely confusing, as one flashback suddenly becomes the present, then we suddenly jump somewhere else. There are parts that the writing randomly turns to poetry form that simply seems out of place. The changes in form made the book hard to read, in addition to the lack of clarity. 

After finishing the book, I still didn't understand what had happened, or where Richard was heading going forward. The book ended very abruptly, and unfortunately just wasn't my cup of tea. I was fairly disappointed.

Dusk and Ember started extremely slow, but the tempo of the story did pick up near the middle. It was a struggle for me to get through this one though. I really did want to like it. While I felt that Dusk and Ember left a lot to be desired, the description was well done. Everything was described in excess detail, which I did enjoy. Maybe the writing went over my head, but this is not a book I will be recommending.
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I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  
Thanks NetGalley!

I have to agree with other reviewers,   I was VERY confused by this book.     I almost find it too difficult to give a review based on that alone.      I know that the author was trying to leave us guessing what was real and wasn't real based on the character's drug use.... but i think it jsut didn't work for me.     

You can tell the author writes beautifully, so maybe i'll try another piece written by the author at another time.
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I just finished this book and I am confused.  Sorry for any spoilers.  Is the main character that messed up from the drugs or does he have a mental illness?  I did not understand this book.  The characters went in circles to me.  There were parts I enjoyed but still through out it was a mass confusion.
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This book may not be for everyone, but it written by a very talented author. I liked it overall. It was a little confusing at times, and I"m not sure what to think of the ending. The characters are fully formed and the dialog is pretty good. I didn't stay engaged throughout, but I think that's related to not relating to some of the content (which is my issue, not a reflection on the author's talent).

I really appreciate the ARC for review!
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Dusk and Ember tells the story of Richard Issych. A recent high school graduate who has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He is not one of the popular kids, or the jocks, or even the nerds. He is a kid who seems to live on the fringes. Richard’s belief is that he likely wouldn’t even be missed. He is also the middle child. So maybe, there’s a little bit of that middle child thing going on as well.

Beautifully written, this novel tells Richard’s story of leaving high school and going to work in a foundry on the night shift. In the foundry he becomes a different Richard. He starts using drugs, some to keep him awake and some to help him sleep during the day. He hangs out with his coworkers, some who deal drugs and some who just take them. He loses himself in this world until something drastic happens to his coworker Melvin. That seems to snap Richard back to reality and the burning question of what next.

Robert Jacoby has crafted a beautifully written story. His descriptive skills are amazing and are what kept me reading. Mostly I believe it is the structure of the book, which flickers between the one night and all the events leading up to it. Also, Richard’s drug fueled imagination leaves the reader wondering what’s real and what isn’t. I reread the epilogue three times, and still am not sure how it ended. 

Perhaps it just wasn’t my kind of book, but this book left me confused. Or perhaps it is because this book is a prequel to another of Robert Jacoby’s works. No matter what, I finished this book more confused than I was in the middle. Yet, this novel is a beautiful display of writing, if not a bit too long. 

This review will be posted at close to publication date.
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Never has a title described the feel of a book as perfectly. The language was very abstract and meandering, more like it belonged in a poem than a novel. Everything felt just a shade melancholy, muted, gritty. 

It was slow to start, it was hard for me to get into it because of how odd the inside of Richard’s head was. I ultimately couldn’t get used to the writing style but did end up appreciating the characters. It felt at odds with the story, whether or not that was intentional, it just wasn’t my cup of tea for a novel but there were parts that had a good amount of impact.
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