For the inimitable Lee Smith, place is paramount. For 45 years, her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South. But never before has she written her own story. Set deep in the rugged Appalachian Mountains, the Grundy of Lee Smith's youth was a place of coal miners, mountain music, and her daddy's dimestore. It was in that dimestore - listening to customers and inventing life histories for the store's dolls - that she began to learn the craft of storytelling.
When she is thirteen years old, Evalina Toussaint, the orphaned child of an exotic dancer in New Orleans, is admitted as a mental patient to Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. The year is 1936, and the hospital, under the direction of celebrity psychiatrist Robert S. Carroll, is famous for its up-to-the-minute shock therapies and for Dr. Carroll's revolutionary theory of the benefits of non-introspection. Evalina finds herself in the midst of a kaleidoscope of characters, including the estranged wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
"Typical Lee Smith Excellence"
Orphaned when her father dies in the Civil War, Molly Petree is taken in by Uncle Junius on his Agate Hill plantation. But the terminally ill Junius is manipulated into marriage by his housekeeper, Selena, who inherits Agate Hill upon his death. Neglected and abused under Selena's watch, Molly escapes to a better life with help from her father's closest battlefield companion. But as she grows into a refined, educated woman, Molly remains haunted by tragedy.
Oral History, the lyrical saga of a Virginia mountain family, follows four generations of Cantrells over more than a century. Researching an assignment for an Oral History course, Jennifer drives to the town where her mother and father grew up. Raised by a stepmother, the young college student wonders why her father never talks of her real mother and is intrigued by the mystery of her heritage. One by one, the Cantrells tell of lives filled with vitality, colored by the land and family history.
"What a treat!"
A great recurring character in a series you love becomes an old friend. You learn about their strange quirks and their haunted pasts and root for them every time they face danger. But where do some of the most fascinating sleuths in the mystery and thriller world really come from? What was the real-life location that inspired Michael Connelly to make Harry Bosch a Vietnam vet tunnel rat? Why is Lee Child's Jack Reacher a drifter?
"Love the backstories on all the different novels!"
Author of many novels and short stories, best-selling writer Lee Smith has received numerous awards for her works, including two O. Henry Awards. Fair and Tender Ladies is an epistolary novel that traces the life of Ivy Rowe, born in the isolated Virginia mountain community of Sugar Fork.
In a fortuitous laboratory accident, crack scientist Richard Seaton has unlocked the secret of atomic energy. Now, partnered with his wealthy engineering-genius friend Martin Crane, he's preparing to give the world the gift of limitless, virtually free energy - and of space travel. But others want Seaton's secret for themselves.
A shocking accident gave Matthew Cahill the ability to see a nightmarish netherworld that nobody else does...Pitting him in a fight to save us all, and his own soul, from the clutches of pure evil in these three exhilarating tales of dark humor, nonstop action, and pure horror in The Dead Man series. Matt is trapped on a traffic-choked interstate in a hellacious blizzard that’s Colder Than Hell…chasing an escaped psycho killer while battling a mutant virus so virulent and horrific that it even terrifies Mr. Dark…
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, The Devil's Dream is an animated, lyrical novel that is meant to be savored as spoken word. Consummate storyteller Lee Smith's creation will delight anyone who enjoys the sound of language and a good story.
On a bright June day in 1965, a dozen girls - classmates at a Blue Ridge women's college - launch a ramshackle raft on a trip down the Mississippi. Their journey, inspired by Huckleberry Finn, is duly reported in the Paducah, Kentucky newspaper. 35 years later, four of the "girls" reunite to cruise the river again. This time, it's on the luxury steamboat The Belle of Natchez. This time, when they reach New Orleans, they'll give the River the ashes of a fifth rafter: Margaret ("Baby") Ballou.
"Ear candy book"
Lee Smith is one of today's most critically acclaimed authors writing about contemporary life in the South. In Family Linen, with a remarkable economy of description and dialogue, Smith sketches eccentric, yet familiar characters moving through a family drama that resonates with both tension and humor.
Virginia native Lee Smith has won two O. Henry Awards, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, and the Robert Penn Warren Prize for her engaging works. A collection of 14 tales - both new stories and previously published favorites - Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger is sure to delight listeners with its warm humor and unforgettable characters.
Nine-year-old Susan has the whole glorious, carefree summer ahead of her. Sometimes she worries that her mother and father aren't happy together, but from her vantage point under the dogbushes, the world is safe and wonderful. Her life begins to change when her friends introduce her to the creepy new city kid, Eugene, who's come to spend the summer. Eugene holds a strange power over the group, a power that Susan feels most profoundly on the night she is forced to play "doctor".
"A Disturbing Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse"
Utina, Florida, is a small, down-at-heels southern town. Once enlivened by the trade in Palm Sunday palms and moonshine, Utina hasn’t seen economic growth in decades, and no family is more emblematic of the local reality than the Bravos. Deserted by the patriarch years ago, the Bravos are held together in equal measure by love, unspoken blame, and tenuously brokered truces.
This national best seller is a breakthrough book for Lee Smith, an author who fills her marvelous novels with humor, pathos, and powerful wisdom. The Last Girls are a group of coeds, inspired by Huck Finn, who traveled the Mississippi on a raft in 1965. Now four of them have reunited on a luxurious steamboat to cruise the river again. As they look back over the past 30 years, each one contemplates their shared past in light of their present lives.
"Not the best presentation"
Having justly earned her reputation as a master storyteller, Lee Smith's name evokes images of authentic country folk struggling through life's arduous tests. Saving Grace adds a stunning spiritual dimension. The daughter of a preacher who ignores his destitute family, Florida Grace doesn't think much of Jesus. He's the reason she's lived in squalor and He wasn't there for her through her failed marriage. But in one shining moment He calls out to her and she returns to her roots to heed His call.
"Not (just) for Christians"
A consummate storyteller in the Southern tradition, Lee Smith tugs at her listeners' heartstrings with this haunting narrative that reads like a country ballad. Touching, funny, and sad, its down-to-earth characters are somehow familiar and endearing as they do their best to meet the demands of daily life.
"Not Lee Smith's best book - but good narration"
From mid-August to mid-September 1863, Union major general William S. Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland maneuvered from Tennessee to north Georgia in a bid to rout Confederate general Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee and blaze the way for further Union advances. Meanwhile, Confederate reinforcements bolstered the numbers of the Army of Tennessee, and by the time the two armies met at the Battle of Chickamauga, in northern Georgia, the Confederates had gained numerical superiority.
"Specific aspects of the campaign in detail"
Lee Smith delivers the heartwarming tale of three generations of women who record their lives in Christmas letters to the family.
The Great Northwest isn't just Seattle and Portland. It ranges from the misty, artistic nerd havens of the coast to the deserts, forests, and cowboy country of Idaho and Montana to the vast expanse of Alaska. Jackie Kashian guides us on a sound collage of the Great Northwest that tackles this strange collection of independent spirits and incredible landscapes, but...in a funny way, people.