The character Raymond in Original Sins is the one character in all of Appalachian literature that most reminds me of myself. I actually got kinda pissed off at Lisa Alther (she pronounces it "Lies-Ah," not "Lease-Ah" ) as she developed that character in he book, feeling that she wasn't being fair to me! Alther is clearly one of a handful of the most accomplished contemporary Appalachian authors. She burst onto the American literary scene in 1976 with her novel Kinflicks, set in her hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee. It was a huge best-seller, and literary critics loved it. This is her second book. Because her first book was so obviously set in Kingsport, and made those who resembled her characters (apparently it wasn't just me who found her character very real) often irritated, she set this book in an East Tennessee town with scrambled geography (too close or far away from towns with real names to be any particular place). Original Sins follows five youths growing up in the fifties and thrust into the sixties with very different reactions and life-styles. "Thoroughly endearing...A big expansive book overflowing with talent and high spirits...Flares with originality and Alther's blackly funny way of seeing things." -- Chicago Tribune.
New York: Borzoi Book/Alfred A. Knopf, 1981. 591 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.