“Pop: An Illustrated Novel,” by Robert Gipe

Reviewed by Julia Lindsay Pop closes out Robert Gipe’s Appalachian illustrated novel trilogy with a wonderfully queer and apocalyptic coda. It ties up loose ends from the two previous novels that share the same subtitle, Trampoline (2015) and Weedeater (2018), while still acknowledging that life is not neat, that not all loose ends can be […]

“Writing Appalachia,” edited by Katherine Ledford and Theresa Lloyd

Reviewed by Charley Hively In his 1949 semi-autobiographical work The Thread that Runs So True, Jesse Stuart struck a resounding chord which still resonates today.  Set against the backdrop of rural Kentucky, Stuart recounts his 20-year career as a schoolteacher, a man horribly afraid of failure, but just as doggedly determined to succeed.  His almost […]

“When Stars Rain Down,” by Angela Jackson-Brown

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro When Stars Rain Down (Thomas Nelson April 2021) is a delicate yet brave coming-of-age novel by Angela Jackson-Brown. Delicate in its tenderness and kindhearted embrace of its characters and their culture, the book is warm, loving, and evocative in its depictions of family life in the Deep South. It also […]

July Read of the Month: “Breath Like the Wind at Dawn,” by Devin Jacobsen

Reviewed by Charley Hively Devin Jacobsen’s debut novel, Breath Like the Wind at Dawn (Sagging Meniscus Press, 2020), opens with a garbled mixture of jarring Western lingo and syntax, graphic violence, and sexual innuendo, but one important detail slowly emerges: gold. Quinn and Irv, a pair of outlaw twin brothers, ambush and slaughter a group […]

“Southbound: Essays on Identity, Heritage, and Social Change,” by Anjali Enjeti

Reviewed by Dawn Major  Early into Southbound Enjeti says, “The problem with masks is that it’s very hard to see out of them.” The human mind attempts to find connections and these particular words connected the entire collection thematically. Enjeti was referring to the mask of silence here, specifically hiding behind a mask as a […]

“Reconsidering Flannery O’Connor,” Edited by Alison Arant and Jordan Cofer

Reviewed by Honey Rand I never much thought about the curation of materials for an anthology until Reconsidering Flannery O’Connor. As I read through each essay, I thought about the excellence of the work and the genius of the collection. Did the editors call on specific scholars to produce this work? Did they collect the […]

“Fugitives of the Heart,” by William Gay

Reviewed by Dawn Major Fugitives of the Heart was found in the attic of a hand-built house where William Gay raised his kids. I had the opportunity to assist editing this lost work and am so pleased fans of Gay will finally have the chance to read his last novel, Fugitives of the Heart, which […]

June Read of the Month: “Coyote Loop,” by L. C. Fiore

Reviewed by Donna Meredith If you like larger-than-life, irascible, narcissistic, rich, foul-mouthed muckspouts—think Tony Soprano—you will like the narrator of L. C. Fiore’s Coyote Loop. Granted, the setting is totally different. The trading floor of a Chicago Board Options Exchange. The beginning of the 2008 recession. But John Andrew Ganzi, also known as JAG, rules […]