Nobody has captured contemporary Eastern Kentucky life as authentically as Robert Gipe. And nobody in Appalachian fiction has come up with a literary innovation as refreshing and enticing as his illustrated novels that feature his own rough caricatures to illustrate his well-chosen words. This is the third and final novel in his trilogy featuring the endearing but complicated protagonist, Dawn. She now has a seventeen-year-old daughter. Adding to the thematic depth and appeal of this novel, it is set around the time of the 2016 election. “A headlong tumble into a proud and problem-plagued Appalachia, this addictive illustrated novel by Gipe (third in a series after Weedeater) is a delightful gabfest.… Comedy and tragedy make way for unexpected uplift in this richly detailed story of people determined not to be forgotten.”—Publishers Weekly. “Robert Gipe is Appalachia’s Willy Wonka. Pop is your golden ticket. It will crack your smile, break your heart, and rouse your soul all in the space of a page.”—Wesley Browne. “Haints and heroes dominate Robert Gipe’s Pop, the last installment of a trilogy that takes everything you thought you knew about Appalachia and turns it on its sunburned ear. It’s a satisfying ending to a tribute to misunderstood people in a place where beauty is both tremendous and tattered as a dog-pawed quilt. Gipe’s stories and drawings crackle with a full-throated reverence that is stereotype bending, unsentimental, and utterly original. When the crotch grabbers get their due, you will laugh, cheer, and shake your head.”—Beth Macy. “Robert Gipe adopts us into a family of characters so endearing, we can’t help but wade with them into the mess of life. A sensitively folded narrative, Pop is layered with the whimsy of Jacktales and a reckoning of the human spirit’s quest to upend society’s injustices. As always, Gipe’s voice is honest, true, and unflinching.”—Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle. Gipe - nobody who knows him calls him “Robert,” let alone, “Bob” -grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee, but taught for thirty years at Southeast Community College in Harlan County, Kentucky, where he created Higher Ground, a grassroots community performance series that has brought his community together in an innovative way.
Athens: Ohio University Press, 2021. 336 pages, illustrated by the author. Hardback in dust jacket.