Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Memes: Death Coming up the Hill by Chris Crowe

Book Beginnings is hosted bRose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Death Coming up the Hill by Chris Crowe. 204 p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October, 2014. 9780544302150.

Publisher synopsis: It’s 1968, and war is not foreign to seventeen-year-old Ashe. His dogmatic, racist father married his passionate peace-activist mother when she became pregnant with him, and ever since, the couple, like the situation in Vietnam, has been engaged in a “senseless war that could have been prevented.”
     When his high school history teacher dares to teach the political realities of the war, Ashe grows to better understand the situation in Vietnam, his family, and the wider world around him. But when a new crisis hits his parents’ marriage, Ashe finds himself trapped, with no options before him but to enter the fray. 

First line: Ah, here's a tough one. The book is written in hiaku. 976 haiku to be exact - 16592 syllables. One for every soldier killed in Vietnam in 1968. Do I post just the first line of the the first haiku?

There's something tidy

Or, does the first line end with the first period? That would be nearly the first "chapter" of the book and ends in the middle of a haiku, which would be unkind not to finish. Right?

There's something tidy 
in seventeen syllables,
a haiku neatness

that leaves craters of
meaning between the lines but
still communicates

what matters most. I
don't have the time or the space
to write more, so I'll

write wat needs to be
remembered  and leave it to
you to fill in the

gaps if you feel like
it. In 1968
sixteen thousand five

hundred ninety-two
American soldiers died
in Vietnam, and

I'm dedicating 
one syllable to each soul
as I record my

own losses suffered
in 1968, a 
year like no other.

Page 56:

Her glistening  lips
formed a smile. "That is a good
question, Ashe, the right

question." For a few
awkward moments no words passed
between us, and my 

heart thudded so hard
I was afraid she'd hear it.
"Someone said there's a

Sadie Hawkins dance
in two weeks. Are you going?"
"Haven't been asked," I

replied. Then her smile 
widened, brightened, and she said,
"What about going

with me?" A wave of
heat flowed up my neck, and I
felt my face redden.

Intrigued? The symbolism is quite powerful. I've been eagerly anticipating the release of this one since I learned of it this past summer.


  1. I'm definitely intrigued and it's definitely powerful. I'm not sure I could handle the haiku form though. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm not sure I could read a whole book written in haiku, but I'm curious about the story anyhow. Intriguing.
    My Friday post features NOT YET.

  3. You are brave to read this. I don't know if my mind could wrap around the haiku.

    here is my 56 -

  4. Not sure I could handle reading it in Haiku...
    Happy weekend!

  5. I don't think I would be able to focus. I hope you enjoy this book.

    Have a great weekend.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  6. I was in my teens during the Vietnam War and have a lot of bad memories of people treating the person that is fighting for their freedom very badly. It sounds like there is good, along with the bad. I hope you enjoy the read.
    sherry @ fundinmental Friday Memes - Bad Apples