It begins as a simple dream. An idealistic environmental scientist moves his wife and young son off the grid, to a stretch of rive bottom farmland in the Mississippi hills, hoping to position himself at the forefront of a revolution in agriculture.
Within a year, he is ruined.
When a corpse appears on his family's property, the farmer is convinced he's being set up. And so begins a journey into a maze of misperceptions and personal obsessions, as the farmer, his now-estranged wife, a predatory deputy, and a backwoods wanderer, all try to uphold a personal sense of honour.
By turns hilarious and darkly disturbing, Soil traces one man's apocalypse to its epic showdown in the Mississippi mudflats. (Source)
Firstly a special thanks to Two Roads for sending me this book to begin with!
When I read the synopsis for this book I was really looking forward to a kind of murder mystery vibe, a bit like Gone Girl but perhaps not to that extreme!
I enjoyed Jay's paranoia throughout the novel, but what I guess I didn't understand is why he didn't call the authorities when he found the body to begin with. If I got anything from this situation it was the impression that perhaps Jay was going through a midlife crisis, that's my only explanation for his bad way of dealing with his troubles and this could have stemmed from his wife Sandy leaving him.
The way he panicked in his head if he didn't do something then later on there would be even worse consequences, but this suspense kind of died off in the middle of the book. It all seemed to be passed on and that the focus was for him to sort things with his wife and child, which I guess is a great distraction but it just felt like nothing was going to come of it.
I enjoyed the different character perspectives, especially in the beginning with Leavenger and his dog that led Jay to his actions. This change of perspective made me carry on with this book, there were a lot of unanswered and absurd questions I wanted answering.
I think the main reason for me picking up this book was from the view of the environment and how we as humans should look after the planet, I liked this part of Jay that he was so passionate about getting the farm up and running to provide for his wife and child. I guess he had a kind of traditional mind but quite rightly so, this edge gave the book originality I feel. The only character I connected with was Jay and his passion for the environment, otherwise there wasn't but room for getting to know the characters better.
Everything seems to be slightly dreary and full of hopelessness in this book, what with Jay splitting from his wife, the farm failing, a dead body on his doorstep. It was all rather doom and gloom, not to mention the creepy guy Shoals who seemed to get too obsessive with Sandy. He tried too hard both in pursuing a relationship with her and her son Jacob but also earning the respect of his uncle. I was expecting a bit more positivity from this book as it drew to a close, but I guess perhaps it reflect that not everything in life goes the way we hoped it would. The ending didn't tie up any loose ends for me, a bit too open ended in my opinion.
A well written book but for me it needed something to make me hooked, I felt like I could pick it up whenever rather than never wanting to put it down. It needed to be more mysterious but I would say if you like a light-hearted read about life then this is for you.