The Gone Dead
An electrifying first novel from “a riveting new voice in American fiction” (George Saunders): A young woman returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father’s life and deathBillie James’s inheritance isn’t much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn’t been back to the South since.Thirty years later, Billie returns, but her father’s home is unnervingly secluded; her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger.Inventive, gritty, and openhearted, The Gone Dead is an astonishing debut novel about race, justice, and memory that lays bare the long-concealed wounds of a family and a country.

The Gone Dead Details

TitleThe Gone Dead
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 25th, 2019
PublisherEcco
ISBN-139780062490698
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

The Gone Dead Review

  • Nick Gardner
    January 1, 1970
    Chanelle Benz is a literary acrobat. Her writing style can be blunt or flowery. The prose flowed beautifully and this book was perfectly paced, quick to read, easy to understand, while still playing with words and colloquialism. Knowing Benz from her short fiction, I had no idea for about half the book which way things were going to go. But then it got predictable. The final half of the book, the reader knows what happened, can easily guess what is going to happen, but I believe this is the poin Chanelle Benz is a literary acrobat. Her writing style can be blunt or flowery. The prose flowed beautifully and this book was perfectly paced, quick to read, easy to understand, while still playing with words and colloquialism. Knowing Benz from her short fiction, I had no idea for about half the book which way things were going to go. But then it got predictable. The final half of the book, the reader knows what happened, can easily guess what is going to happen, but I believe this is the point of the book. Benz is discussing racism in the deep south. It is something predictable that hasn't changed much for so many years. The payoff of the book is not the event or discovery of the event, but something a bit more deeper-seated, a new realization.Benz is discussing people struggling with where they came from and ever returning back to. This is not a trite tale of white people hurting black people. It is a story that researches how we deal with the injustices and hate of the past and the present, and how we approach the future.
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  • Elizabeth Willis
    January 1, 1970
    Just when I leave the South, I'm suddenly in this trend of reading the best Southern fiction I've ever encountered. There's so much brilliance here.
  • Paris (parisperusing)
    January 1, 1970
    If Jesmyn Ward and Gillian Flynn came together on a novel, it would surely look like this.In Chanelle Benz's debut novel, The Gone Dead, one biracial woman's return to the Mississippi Delta threatens to unearth secrets of her father’s life and death which have long since been buried by a community wounded by racism. As the novel progresses, Benz proves just how little we've come in the way of siding with solidarity over inequality, and no one learns this lesson more than our poor protagonist, Bi If Jesmyn Ward and Gillian Flynn came together on a novel, it would surely look like this.In Chanelle Benz's debut novel, The Gone Dead, one biracial woman's return to the Mississippi Delta threatens to unearth secrets of her father’s life and death which have long since been buried by a community wounded by racism. As the novel progresses, Benz proves just how little we've come in the way of siding with solidarity over inequality, and no one learns this lesson more than our poor protagonist, Billie James, who can’t seem to find peace from the minute she steps foot in her miasmal hometown. No peace in her own family, none in the once-reliable confidence of her white neighbors, nor in the embrace of the white man who becomes her lover and greatest letdown. As if the random acts of terror weren’t warning enough, no one is happy to see Billie back in town after all these years. “Let it go,” everyone insists. “Go home. It’s not safe for you here.” But why? Benz answers this with a novel so profoundly shrouded in hatred and grief that seems more prevalent now than ever before. This book struck such a chord with me because, much like Billie, I have always struggled with trust. Like her, I’ve wrongfully accused close ones of dishonesty and have broken the hearts of such well-meaning friends purely out of fear. But imagine how much our anxiety is multiplied in a world where so many want people like me dead. Now imagine how taxing it must be to weed out the outliers. Who can you run to, really? Where? This is the resolute terror which refuses to let us go, and becomes the essential haunt that made Benz's first turn virtually impossible to put down.Thanks, Ecco, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Jan Thullen
    January 1, 1970
    Pub date 6/19 (ARC) 4-1/2 ⭐Billie returns to her birthplace on the Mississippi Delta after 30 years away. After her father, a poet and activist, died in an apparent accidental fall, she lived with her mother, far away from what was left of her father’s family. The fact that she had been with her father on the night of his death is the first of many facts that had been concealed from her. This is a compelling and immersive debut novel about family, secrets, race and persistence. Pub date 6/19 (ARC) 4-1/2 ⭐️Billie returns to her birthplace on the Mississippi Delta after 30 years away. After her father, a poet and activist, died in an apparent accidental fall, she lived with her mother, far away from what was left of her father’s family. The fact that she had been with her father on the night of his death is the first of many facts that had been concealed from her. This is a compelling and immersive debut novel about family, secrets, race and persistence.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway!Review to come soon.
  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't read Chanelle's short story collection but after reading this, I think I need to go back and rectify that.
  • Dannie Davis Jr
    January 1, 1970
    The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz (2019)Billie James' inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn't been back to the South since. Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family wh The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz (2019)⁣⁣Billie James' inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn't been back to the South since.⁣ Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger.⁣Inventive, gritty, and openhearted, The Gone Dead is an astonishing debut novel about race, justice, and memory that lays bare the long-concealed wounds of a family and a country.⁣⁣5⭐️⁣⁣The perfect combination of literary fiction and mystery. One of the best books I’ve read so far in 2019! Thank you @ecco for sending me a copy. If you are a fan of mystery/thrillers be sure to read this one. Release date is June 2019.⁣
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this up as an ARC and I'm glad I did. It's the story of what home means and returning to complicated family histories that also bear the weight of capital-h History. It's the story of a daughter come home to come to terms with family legacy and memory.
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  • Charles Tatum
    January 1, 1970
    A disappointing thriller has a young mixed race woman returning to where her famous poet father died in the Mississippi Delta, and investigating his "suicide." The reader never gets to know the protagonist, the first one hundred pages stagnate, and the climax basically involves a supporting character just kind of saying "oh, here's what happened." Sprinkled with preachiness, and you will tire of hearing about how different life is on The Delta; Benz seems lost in her own story. And no, one of my A disappointing thriller has a young mixed race woman returning to where her famous poet father died in the Mississippi Delta, and investigating his "suicide." The reader never gets to know the protagonist, the first one hundred pages stagnate, and the climax basically involves a supporting character just kind of saying "oh, here's what happened." Sprinkled with preachiness, and you will tire of hearing about how different life is on The Delta; Benz seems lost in her own story. And no, one of my parents was a fourth generation Mississippian, so I am familiar with the state and its history. I'm not someone who has no life experience in the deep South. Of course, life sure is different out here on The Prairie.
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