Not Dickens

Also, some people are put off Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead because they heard it was inspired by Dickens’s David Copperfield, and they think it’s a rewrite. That’s not true, though. Some names are similar, some of the very general plot lines are, too. But as a great fan of Dickens, I can honestly tell you this is not a rewrite. You don’t need to read Dickens or even know he exists to love the novel. At no point does Kingsolver allow Dickens to constrain or guide her writing. This is a novel that’s 100% American and completely true to the spirit of Appalachia. It’s a novel of such profound and painful love, respect and admiration for America that it can make you weep. This is Sinclair Lewis, Theodore Dreiser and John Steinbeck type of literature. It’s the 21-century Grapes of Wrath.

It is truly a great culture that can produce art like this and it’s a great honor to be able to read it. I’m sure the novel will be translated into many languages but you need to be able to read it in English because the writing is just so delicious. If you love the English language, you just can’t fail to enjoy it. It’s a novel that has everything – the language, the story, the characters, the setting. It’s both an aesthetic and an intellectual pleasure.


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