Saturday, 7 September 2019

On Cedar Hill by Emil Kresl

On Cedar Hill by Emil Kresl
Published by Amberjack Publishing in October 2015.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cedar Hill. An upper-middle class community with an abundance of unseemly stories. Enjoy a voyeuristic glance into what lies beneath the manicured lawns and picturesque families.From one man’s attempt to cope after a devastating diagnosis to a neighborhood kidnapping that continues to mystify years later, On Cedar Hill proves things are not always as they appear. Each vignette stands on its own, yet intertwines to form a composite of Cedar Hill and the peculiar lives of those who have lived there over several decades.Rich in character, place, and its examination of the impact of time, On Cedar Hill will appeal to any reader who has been curious about what may lie behind the mask of propriety of the well-respected, affluent family. A journey to Cedar Hill will quench not only a thirst for scandal, but touch us as we see the characters trying to save not just their image, but their families and lives.

This review was first blogged on Stephanie Jane in December 2015.
I was first drawn to On Cedar Hill by its clever cover art - an overhead view of a swimming pool and perfectly manicured lawn - which sums up the affluent community exposed in Kresl's series of vignettes. The book isn't a novel and isn't really short stories either - more of linked scenes that together form an interesting snapshot of a certain aspect of American life. Kresl looks through the eyes of several wonderful characters who all live in the same area and shows us the truth behind their facades. Cedar Hill is all about keeping up appearances and I loved the snobbish attitudes of its inhabitants, particularly when the people in question had little or nothing to boast about themselves. Even apparently peripheral characters are perfectly realised - Holzkind the hobo or the twins Lars and Gunter - and Kresl has a great descriptive turn of phrase that really brings this community to life.

A fun book for curtain-twitchers around the globe, if you have ever wondered what goes on behind your neighbours' neat topiary hedges, On Cedar Hill will probably give the game away!

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Stockton-on-Tees, England

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Books by Emil Kresl / Contemporary fiction / Books from America

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