The Finder of Forgotten Things

Bethany House. Dec. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780764239434. $29.99. CF
Times are desperate in Mount Lookout, WV, in 1932. Desperate enough that jobs digging the Hawks Nest Tunnel through the mountains seem like a blessing from God. The well-paying jobs come at a cost, though. The earnings can be spent only at the overpriced company store, and the dust is so thick that the only way to discern Black workers from white is the segregated camps in which they sleep. When postmistress Eugenia Floyd, who is white, checks on her neighbor’s son, she discovers that once strapping young men have been reduced to wraiths by long hours digging in air full of silica dust with no protective equipment. She brings food and medicine but soon learns that many things are “not right this side of heaven,” especially when it comes to the abuse of the Black workers.
VERDICT In a hardscrabble 1930s setting, complex characters wrestle with justice, mercy, inequality, honesty, and the fact that they are all prodigals still searching for the way home. Loudin Thomas (The Right Kind of Fool) delivers a stunning tale of one of the worst industrial disasters in U.S. history, underlined with a moral imperative to love one’s neighbor that still hits home today.
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