This coming-of-age novel is set in Rowan County, in Eastern Kentucky. It begins with the funeral of thirteen-year-old Colby Grayson’s father, a tobacco farmer, who has died with his crop in the field. The title acknowledges the central role played by Colby’s mother and the importance of values beyond the necessity of getting the work done. “P. Shaun Neal's novel Mama's Song is lyrical and bracing, as rich as the dark soil that nurtures the tobacco crop Colby must somehow bring in after his father's death, or risk losing the family farm. Neal conjures a large cast of fully-realized characters, damaged and humane and true to life . . . Mama's Song will pull you in from the first page, as secrets meant to stay buried as deep as a coffin slowly rise, conspiring to bring Colby's story to its gripping climax. Beautifully written and highly recommended.” ~David T. Miller. The author, P. Shaun Neal, earned a B.A. in English at the University of Kentucky where he studied under Gurney Norman and Ed McClanahan and won their Dantzler Award in fiction. While in college he had already begun a career in construction, an industry he followed throughout his career. Now retired, he was able to finish this novel he had been working on for over twenty years.
Huron, Ohio: Bottom Dog Press, 2019. 235 pages. Trade paperback.