Like most books, The Line That Held Us is a book about choices. The choice that Darl makes to hunt on private land while the owner is out of town. The choice he makes to shoot at what he thinks is a feral hog. The choice he makes to pull his best friend Calvin into things when he discovers that it was a person, not a hog, he shot. The choices that man’s brother, Dwayne, makes in reaction to his brother’s killing.
David Joy writes in Ron Rash’s territory—The Line That Held Us is set in Jackson County, North Carolina; Rash is a professor at a school in Jackson County—so the comparison is inevitable. Joy writes brilliantly, and I was almost ready to proclaim that he has exceeded Rash early in the book, but I was ultimately let down a bit.