In this haunting and poignant debut novel, James Braziel tells an unforgettable story of love, family, and survival across a world that has already begun to die.…
When the ozone layer opened and the sun relentlessly scorched the land, there was nothing left but to hope. Mathew Harrison had always heard of a better life as close as Birmingham, only thirty-five miles away—zones of blue sky, wet grass, and clean breathable air. But to him it’s a myth, a place guarded by soldiers, off limits to all but the lucky few. Meanwhile Mat works alongside his father, mining only the red clay that the once fertile Alabama soil can offer.
Now, with the killing deserts on the move again and the woman he loves on a Greyhound heading north, Mat has a travel visa and every reason to leave. But his roots in this lifeless soil inexplicably hold him firmly to the past. Torn between hope and resignation, with time running out, Mat must make a fateful choice between a new life and the one that isn’t ready to let him go.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Birmingham, 35 Miles|
|Release Date: 02-26-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Birmingham, 35 Miles|
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Birmingham, 35 Miles
Fatama, Alabama, June 2044
Working on fence posts was my grandfather's work, my father's work for some time, until the winds and sand came in from the coast, and the sky opened up a wound over southern Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, a blinding eye swirling, burning until everything in the Deep South became too dry. No crops would take, and then my father became a clay miner who told me, "Clay rocks are good for nothing but the money. And there's not much of that, Mathew, except for the government, what they're willing to give to keep us here." But money or no money, my father would have stayed and died just as he did.
When I think of him, I see him standing, the stance of an old dancer, his chubby hands positioned as if ready to go into step—one, two, swirl and swirl. My Uncle Wayne called him a graceful pig because my father was not so tall, though he learned the routines perfect. When I think of him, he spins me across a field he's talked about—green with a ceiling of blue and thick-shouldered clouds I've never known. All I've held is this desert Alabama wasteland. My father takes me round and round, lets me go, lets me fly.
Working on fence posts was my grandfather's work. He put up fences for anybody in Coffee County and counties around. "Ten dollars for every six feet of post," my father told me, some still hanging on, the barbed wire torn and twisted on itself, snapping in the wind like lion tamer whips that come howling. It was my father's work, my uncle's work for some time.
But then the earth turned crazy, and the ozone opened up like a wound, giving the sun permission to burn off every field, d