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Demon Copperhead

Barbara Kingsolver


_Demon Copperhead_ won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and also the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2023. It is a retelling of Dickens’ David Copperfield in the present-day Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, USA. Although knowledge of the original can help the reader to enjoy _Demon Copperhead_, it is by no means necessary and the novel works perfectly well on its own. It is the story of a young man growing up, from birth to young adulthood.

The book describes a number of different facets of poverty and its relationship to prescription drug addiction in that area. The author has lived in the region for decades, and her deep understanding of the society there clearly informs the book.

Despite the desperate poverty, this is a hopeful novel, mainly because it emphasises the extreme resilience of the people there in general and the central character in particular. Its cast of complex and likeable characters makes it a pleasure to read. It is written with humour and the dialogues are entertaining. Although it is a long book, it is hard to put down.


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