The Hollow Ground: A Novel

May 4, 2021
The Hollow Ground: A Novel

Set amongst the deadly coal mine fires of 1960s Pennsylvania,The Hollow Ground is an extraordinary debut that will "grab you bythe brisket and not let go" (Gary Shteyngart)"We walk on fire or air, so Daddy liked to say. Basement floorstoo hot to touch. Steaming green lawns in the dead of winter.Sinkholes, quick and sudden, plunging open at your feet."The underground mine fires ravaging Pennsylvania coal countryhave forced Brigid Howley and her family to seek refuge with herestranged grandparents, the formidable Gram and the Black Lungstricken Gramp. Tragedy is no stranger to the Howleys, a proudIrish-American clan who takes strange pleasure in the "curse" laidupon them generations earlier by a priest who ran afoul of theMolly Maguires. The weight of this legacy rests heavily on a newgeneration, when Brigid, already struggling to keep her familytogether, makes a grisly discovery in a long-abandoned bootleg mineshaft. In the aftermath, decades' old secrets threaten to provejust as dangerous to the Howleys as the burning, hollow groundbeneath their feet.Inspired by real-life events in now-infamous Centralia and theequally devastated town of Carbondale, The Hollow Ground is anextraordinary debut with an atmospheric, voice-driven narrative andan indelible sense of place. Not since To Kill a Mockingbird has ayoung character been so heartbreakingly captivating. A "powerfulstory of love and survival" (Pulitzer Prize finalist David Gates),Harnett's novel is a must-read for lovers of literary fiction.