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In Coal Run, a community of ghosts and legends, local deputy Ivan Zoschenko, his pro career sidelined by a knee injury, spends a week preparing for an old teammate's release from prison. During the events of the week, Ivan reveals himself to be a man whose conscience is burdened by a secret with which he must reckon.
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A poignant tale of a once-proud Pennsylvania coal town destroyed by a mining disaster, Tawni O'Dell's second novel, Coal Run, follows its wounded inhabitants as they try to come to terms with what is gone and what remains. "The Great Ivan Z"--Ivan Zoschenko--is a mythical football hero who, after being injured on the eve of a promising professional career, heads for Florida (and the bottom of the bottle) for a decade before limping back to Coal Run and getting a job as deputy sheriff. The novel spans a week's time, but recollections and suppositions of the characters add depth; the book's an engrossing adventure in self-redemption and acceptance.
Multiple plot lines abound: Ivan keenly awaits the release from prison of his teammate, Reese Raynor, who beat his wife into a coma and whom Ivan visits regularly in the hospital; Reese's brother and his family struggle with many kids, little money and fewer prospects; Ivan's boyhood hero, Val, a Vietnam veteran who likewise spent years elsewhere, returns with eyes for Ivan's sister, a waitress, former beauty queen, and single mom. And, of course, there's a love interest. Stood up by her date, Ivan contemplates: "What could possibly be more important than sitting across a table from this woman and watching her put things in her mouth? I wonder as I take a seat." Despite somewhat predictable plot elements, O'Dell has the benefit of so many different story lines and characters to choose from that the novel is well-paced and allows her powers of observation to shine. For example, Ivan notes: "I need a drink. I'm not embarrassed or apologetic about the craving. Needing a drink isn't any worse than needing to collect Beanie Babies. I'd rather be a drunk than a moron."
Coal Run is a pitch-perfect story of a town's rediscovery that the best thing about it is its people and their ability to survive and retain a sense of pride, even after its identity and many lives were lost. --Michael FerchAbout the Author:
Tawni O’Dell was born and raised in the Allegheny mountains of western Pennsylvania.
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Book Description Penguin Audio, 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0142800511
Book Description Penguin Audio, 2004. Audio CD. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110142800511
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0142800511