“Probably the best novel I’ll read this year. It’s about work and love and characters who ring true. By the time I was 50 pages in I couldn’t put it down. Can’t stop thinking about it” – Stephen King


Just finished Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson. Audio version.
This outstanding book tells about the lumber trade back in the mid 1970’s in the northwest. The people here make their living by cutting trees and at this time their are also organized movements meant to help save the forests. Their is also a problem surrounding the use of herbicides which may be poisoning the surrounding water in the community causing miscarriages and birth defects.
Rich Gunderson Is a lifelong tree topper. His grandad and dad both died doing this job. He has a wife named Colleen who occasionally volunteers as a midwife in the area . They have one son named Chub. She has miscarried numerous times.

When an old friend of Colleens returns to the area and is doing research on the water and the effects of the herbicides on it, Colleen and Rich have a disagreement about it. The ownership of the lumber company is fighting the issue and when demonstrators start coming in to the area trying to prevent the chopping down of the trees, tensions really escalate.
The story gives a good view of the life in this woodcutter community, their own financial problems, the immense danger of their job,and the hazards posed to the immediate area as the trees go down and now mud slides become a potential risk.

The relationship of the Gunderson family is a thing to behold, so well presented that you will be caught up in their many family issues, feeling their pain and anguish over the many hurdles they must go through to survive not only financially but physically.
Well worth reading, one of the better books of the year.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 29th October 2021

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Richard Franco