“Crum,” by Lee Maynard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Even though the West Virginia town I grew up in is nothing—nothing—like the town of 219 residents Lee Maynard describes in his 1988 novel Crum, I related strongly to this coming-of-age story. The novel is now, deservedly, in its third printing through Vandalia/WVU Press. It is the first volume of a […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Amber D. Tran, Author of “Moon River”

AM: So glad for the opportunity to talk to you about your debut novel, Moon River. Before we get into the book, I want to ask about your background.  I noticed you’re a graduate of West Virginia University.  I studied English for my master’s at WVU and graduated from law school at WVU.  Did you […]

“The Promise of Jesse Woods,” by Chris Fabry

Reviewed by John S. Maguire Chris Fabry’s The Promise of Jesse Woods is a novel that deals with race, social inequality and the age-old story of star-crossed lovers. It is a complex read, weaving in and out of two time periods, but somehow Fabry makes it all work, twisting the usual response to these subjects […]

“Honey from the Lion” and “Allegheny Front,” by Matthew Neill Null

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The land itself and male characters dominate the early works of West Virginia author Matthew Neill Null. They include the literary novel Honey from the Lion (Lookout Books, 2015) and a short story collection, Allegheny Front (Sarabande Books, 2016), which won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. If there is […]

“Life Through These Eyes,” by Michael S. Lambiotte

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Life Through These Eyes is a collection of over a hundred thoughtful, short personal essays by West Virginia native Michael S. Lambiotte. A few of these essays, first published as columns for a local newspaper, are specific to life in Clarksburg, but most would strike a chord of familiarity with people […]

Donna Meredith Interviews Glenn Taylor, Author of “A Hanging at Cinder Bottom”

DM: In the Acknowledgements you mention a Jackson Herald article covered the last public execution in the state. How was that article helpful in writing the first chapter? What details of that hanging are incorporated into your fiction? GT: I would say that article was immeasurably helpful, in that I had started the book and […]

November Read of the Month: “A Hanging at Cinder Bottom,” by Glenn Taylor

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Glenn Taylor’s new over-the-top caper sparkles with cinematic scenes begging to be transformed into film. A Hanging at Cinder Bottom: A Novel (Tin House Books) is primarily set in West Virginia coal country with occasional forays into Baltimore. The white-faced monkey depicted on the cover plays a role in a story […]

“The Path Was Steep,” by Susan Pickett

Reviewed by Morgan O’Grady Susan Pickett was on my mind as I crossed Alabama’s state line after leaving West Virginia the same morning: her well-fed babies, her cutting hair in the yard and selling the excess food from her father’s land. She was an Alabama native transplanted to West Virginia during the Depression. Her memoir, […]