All Coyote's Children
Bette Lynch Husted Oregon State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3608.U852 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Jack and Annie Fallon had been living what seemed the ideal life with their son Riley, spending the school year in Portland, where Jack was a professor of Native American history, and summers at Jack’s family ranch in northeastern Oregon, on land surrounded by the Umatilla Indian Reservation. But a good way of life can disappear almost overnight, as the Umatilla, Cayuse, and Walla Walla peoples already know. Now the teenage Riley is in rehab, Jack has disappeared without a trace into the remote wilderness, and Annie is recovering from her own hospitalization following a mental health crisis.
Still fragile, a bereft Annie returns to the ranch, where she is befriended by Leona, a Umatilla-Cayuse neighbor. Leona, as it turns out, has a long connection to the family that even Jack never knew about. At the time of his disappearance, Jack had been grappling with his family’s legacy—with the conflicts and consequences of white settlement of native ground. Three generations before he was born, the family ranch was taken from the Umatilla reservation through the Allotment Act. Jack’s mother died when he was six, but his father’s stern presence still cast a shadow on the land.
“Survival is hard sometimes,” Leona says, but with her help, Annie is able to bring Riley home from rehab and begin the work of healing their small family, learning, season by season, how to go on living without Jack. Leona, Riley’s friends Alex and Mattie, and old neighbors Gus and Audrey become a larger family for Annie as they share the stories that connect them—long-silenced stories from both cultures that could solve the mystery of Jack’s disappearance.
In prose that is lyrical and clear-eyed, All Coyote’s Children weaves an unforgettable tale of cultures and families caught in the inescapable web of who they are and what they have inherited.
Camp Nine: A Novel
Vivienne Schiffer University of Arkansas Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3619.C366C36 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the U.S. military to ban anyone from certain areas of the country, with primary focus on the West Coast. Eventually the order was used to imprison 120,000 people of Japanese descent in incarceration camps such as the Rohwer Relocation Center in remote Desha County, Arkansas. This time of fear and prejudice (the U.S. government formally apologized for the relocations in 1982) and the Arkansas Delta are the setting for Camp Nine. The novel's narrator, Chess Morton, lives in tiny Rook Arkansas. Her days are quiet and secluded until the appearance of a "relocation" center built for what was, in effect, the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans. Chess's life becomes intertwined with those of two young internees and an American soldier mysteriously connected to her mother's past. As Chess watches the struggles and triumphs of these strangers and sees her mother seek justice for the people who briefly and involuntarily came to call the Arkansas Delta their home, she discovers surprising and disturbing truths about her family's painful past.
Wesley Browne West Virginia University Press, 2020 Library of Congress PS3602.R7373H55 2020 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Knox Thompson thinks he’s working a hustle, but it’s a hustle that’s working him. Trying to keep his pizza shop and parents afloat, he cleans out a backroom Kentucky poker game only to be roped into dealing marijuana by the proprietor—an arrangement Knox only halfheartedly resists.
Knox’s shop makes the perfect front for a marijuana operation, but his supplier turns out to be violent and calculating, and Knox ends up under his thumb. It’s not long before more than just the pizza shop is at risk.
A chilling, timely reminder of the moral and human costs of racial hatred.
What happens when a delusional white supremacist and his army of followers decide to create a racially pure “Little Europe” within a rural Tennessee community? As the town’s residents grapple with their new reality, minor skirmishes escalate and dirty politics, scandals, and a cataclysmic chain of violence follows. In this uncanny reflection of our time, award-winning novelist Charles Dodd White asks whether Americans can save themselves from their worst impulses and considers the consequences when this salvation comes too late.
Like Light, Like Music
Lana K. W. Austin West Virginia University Press, 2020 Library of Congress PS3601.U8628L55 2020 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Emme McLean never imagined that in 1999 she would be living out the lyrics of the ancient murder ballads she grew up singing. But now Emme is back in Red River, Kentucky, using her skills as a journalist to prove her cousin did not kill her husband and to find out what is terrifying the town after many of its women went half-mad on the same night.
But to help her hometown’s haunted women, Emme must also face the things that haunt her, things she thought she had lost when she chose to move away: the majestic music of her family’s beloved hills and hollows, the mysterious old ways of her Appalachian kin, and the memory of her remarkable first love, Evan. Through it all, she must reckon with her magical “mountain gift”—is it real, or merely a unique synesthesia? And can she trust it to help heal her family and her town, a place still plagued by the social injustice that first drove her away? Can she trust it to help heal herself?
Heather Bell Adams West Virginia University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3601.D3747M37 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
After Sadie’s son, Mark, is gone, she doesn’t have much use for other people, including her husband. The last person she wants to see is Tinley Greene, who shows up claiming she’s pregnant with Mark’s baby.
Sadie knows Tinley must be lying because Mark was engaged and never would have betrayed his fiancée. So she refuses to help, and she doesn’t breathe a word about it to anybody. But in a small, southern town like Garnet, nothing stays secret for long.
Once Sadie starts piecing together what happened to Mark, she discovers she was wrong about Tinley. And when her husband is rushed to the hospital, Sadie must hurry to undo her mistake before he runs out of time to meet their grandchild.
Mourner's Bench: A Novel
Sanderia Faye University of Arkansas Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3606.A965M68 2015 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
At the First Baptist Church of Maeby, Arkansas, the sins of the child belonged to the parents until the child turned thirteen. Sarah Jones was only eight years old in the summer of 1964, but with her mother Esther Mae on eight prayer lists and flipping around town with the generally mistrusted civil rights organizers, Sarah believed it was time to get baptized and take responsibility for her own sins. That would mean sitting on the mourner’s bench come revival, waiting for her sign, and then testifying in front of the whole church.
But first, Sarah would need to navigate the growing tensions of small-town Arkansas in the 1960s. Both smarter and more serious than her years (a “fifty-year-old mind in an eight-year-old body,” according to Esther), Sarah was torn between the traditions, religion, and work ethic of her community and the progressive civil rights and feminist politics of her mother, who had recently returned from art school in Chicago. When organizers from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to town just as the revival was beginning, Sarah couldn’t help but be caught up in the turmoil. Most folks just wanted to keep the peace, and Reverend Jefferson called the SNCC organizers “the evil among us.” But her mother, along with local civil rights activist Carrie Dilworth, the SNCC organizers, Daisy Bates, attorney John Walker, and indeed most of the country, seemed determined to push Maeby toward integration.
With characters as vibrant and evocative as their setting, Mourner’s Bench is the story of a young girl coming to terms with religion, racism, and feminism while also navigating the terrain of early adolescence and trying to settle into her place in her family and community.
A Place Remote: Stories
Gwen Goodkin West Virginia University Press, 2020 Library of Congress PS3607.O56367A6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
From farm to factory, alcoholism to war wounds, friendship to betrayal, the stories in A Place Remote take us intimately into the hearts of people from all walks of life in a rural Ohio town. Whether they stay in their town or leave for distant places, these characters come to realize no one is immune to the fictions people tell others—and themselves—to survive.
In each of these ten stories, Gwen Goodkin forces her characters to face the dramatic events of life head-on—some events happen in a moment, while others are the fallout of years or decades of turning away. A boy is confronted by the cost of the family farm, an optometrist careens toward an explosive mental disaster, a mourning teen protects his sister, lifelong friends have an emotional confrontation over an heirloom, and a high school student travels to Germany to find his voice and, finally, a moment of long-awaited redemption.
A coming-of-age story of hope, betrayal, and familial legacy set in rural Appalachia.
Set in the run-up and aftermath of the 2016 election, Pop brings the Canard County trilogy to a close as Dawn, the young narrator of Gipe’s first novel, Trampoline, is now the mother of the fifteen-year-old Nicolette. Whereas Dawn has become increasingly agoraphobic as the Internet persuades her the world is descending into chaos, Nicolette narrates an Appalachia where young people start businesses rooted in local food culture and work to build community. But Nicolette’s precocious rise in the regional culinary scene is interrupted when her policeman cousin violently assaults her, setting in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy the family—and Canard County in the process.
In the tradition of Gipe’s first two novels, Pop’s Appalachia is full of clear-eyed, caring, creative, and complicated people struggling to hang on to what is best about their world and reject what is not. Their adventures reflect an Appalachia that is overrun by outside commentators looking for stories to tell about the region—sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but almost always oversimplified.
Son of Amity
Peter Nathaniel Malae Oregon State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3613.A423S66 2018 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Three lives on the verge of ruin intersect in the small Oregon town of Amity: Pika, a half-Samoan ex-con from California, seeks to deliver justice to his sister’s rapist; Michael, a five-tour Iraq War Marine, faces the cracked mirror of his own embattled soul; and Sissy, a recent convert to Catholicism, must resist the lure of ruthless self-judgment and discover what love is.
Determined to escape the past, these characters find themselves sharing the same torn-down house, bordering tweaker poverty and bucolic wine country. Violence and penance, family and legacy, recidivism and post-traumatic stress disorder linger with the heavy rain of desperation. At the center of this storm is five-year old Benji, whose wide-eyed energy and openhearted faith could show all of them how to still be saved.
In this unforgettable tale, award-winning author Peter Nathaniel Malae explores the depths of human pain and trauma with genuine cultural authority. Son of Amity is a novel whose voices cry out with truth and vulnerability, never betraying that slight tilt toward hope needed to make the long, hard trek to tomorrow.
The residents of The Sound of Holding Your Breath could be neighbors, sharing the same familiar landscapes of twenty-first-century Appalachia—lake and forest, bridge and church, cemetery and garden, diner and hair salon. They could be your neighbors—average, workaday, each struggling with secrets and losses, entrenched in navigating the complex requirements of family in all its forms.
Yet tragedy and violence challenge these unassuming lives: A teenage boy is drawn to his sister’s husband, an EMT searching the lake for a body. A brother, a family, and a community fail to confront the implications of a missing girl. A pregnant widow spends Thanksgiving with her deceased husband’s family. Siblings grapple with the death of their sister-in-law at the hands of their brother. And in the title story, the shame of rape ruptures more than a decade later.
Accidents and deaths, cons and cover-ups, abuse and returning veterans—Natalie Sypolt’s characters wrestle with who they are during the most trying situations of their lives.
To the Bones
VALERIE NIEMAN West Virginia University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3564.I355T68 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
2020 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award finalist
Darrick MacBrehon, a government auditor, wakes among the dead. Bloodied and disoriented from a gaping head wound, the man who staggers out of the mine crack in Redbird, West Virginia, is much more powerful—and dangerous—than the one thrown in. An orphan with an unknown past, he must now figure out how to have a future.
Hard-as-nails Lourana Taylor works as a sweepstakes operator and spends her time searching for any clues that might lead to Dreama, her missing daughter. Could this stranger’s tale of a pit of bones be connected? With help from disgraced deputy Marco DeLucca and Zadie Person, a local journalist investigating an acid mine spill, Darrick and Lourana push against everyone who tries to block the truth. Along the way, the bonds of love and friendship are tested, and bodies pile up on both sides.
In a town where the river flows orange and the founding—and controlling—family is rumored to “strip a man to the bones,” the conspiracy that bleeds Redbird runs as deep as the coal veins that feed it.
Humorous and wry stories of misfits and ordinary people in an Appalachian community struggling creatively to make sense of an often nonsensical world.
“It seems like everybody but people from here are sure about what we’re about, and they make money being wrong about it.” The residents of Labor County, a fictional small community in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, may be short on cash, but they are rich in creativity and tirelessly inventive as they concoct new schemes to make ends meet, settle old scores, and work off their debts to society and, in a way, to themselves.
A zealous history professor is caught stealing from the local museum in protest of petty theft; an arsonist strikes it lucky—twice; a skilled leatherworker saddles a turkey and finds a rider; an angel aspires to be a punk rock Roller Derby princess; a grieving artist carves a miracle into a roadside rock face; and affable Uncle Archie produces a seemingly unending supply of new and bizarre items to display in his Odditorium.
More than a collection of tales, Working It Off in Labor County assembles memorable characters who recur across these seventeen linked stories, sharing in one another’s struggles and stumbling upon humor and mystery, the grotesque and the divine, each in many forms.