Coal Run

Version: Unabridged
Author: Tawni O'Dell
Narrator: Daniel Passer
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Published In: June 2004
# of Units: 10 CDs
Length: 12 hours
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At once riveting and heartbreaking, Back Roads, with its pitch-perfect characters, captured the maddening confusion of adolescence and announced the arrival of a formidable talent in Tawni O'Dell, a writer who finds the humor and humanity in the bleakest states.

With her eagerly awaited second novel, Coal Run, O'Dell takes us back to the coal mining country of western Pennsylvania, the territory she renders with such striking authenticity. Ivan Zoschenko, the local deputy and erstwhile football legend, "The Great Ivan Z," sidelined years ago by a knee injury, spends a week seemingly preparing for an old teammate's imminent release from prison. In doing so, Ivan introduces a rich cast of characters—his unexpectedly wise and comic former beauty queen sister, his former idol Val Claypool, and the young woman whose life he changed forever. And during the events of this week, Ivan confronts his demons and reveals himself to be a man whose conscience is burdened by a long-held and shocking secret that must be reckoned with.

Driven by the same raw energy, humor, suspense, and compassion for a place and a way of life that made O'Dell's first novel so unforgettable, Coal Run is an uncompromising and absorbing novel that advances on, even transcends, the incredible promise of Back Roads.

Reviews (3)

Great read

Written by suzedone on December 7th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Great story - great characters - really takes you into the world of poverty in a coal mining town without being sentimental or judgmental.

A great read!

Written by Laura from Milwaukee, WI on December 1st, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Very well written. Rich characters. I enjoyed this book!

Coal Run

Written by Anonymous from Covina, CA on February 18th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Excellent book, great characters, I would recommend it.

Author Details

Author Details

O'Dell, Tawni

Tawni O'Dell is the "New York Times" bestselling author of Coal Run and Back Roads, which was also an Oprah's Book Club selection. She lives in Pennsylvania with her two children and her husband, literary translator Bernard Cohen.
For more information about the author, visit

"From the Hardcover edition."