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Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson

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The career of Kevin Wilson is a perfect example of the fallacy of Appalachian regional exceptionalism. He grew up in the Franklin County seat of  Winchester, Tennessee, and teaches now in the eastern side of the county up on Monteagle Mountain at the University of the South in Sewanee. Nevertheless, his settings are as universal as his appeal. He first published a story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth (2009). A novel, The Family Fang, followed in 2011. It was a best-seller that became a Hollywood movie. In this, Wilson’s second novel, the protagonist, Isabel Poole, becomes involved in a child psychologist’s experiment in creating a “perfect little world” where parents collectively raise ten children together. In the New York Times Book Review, John Irving termed it “a novel you keep reading for old-fashioned reasons--because it is a good story and you need to know what happens.”  Library Journal called it a “moving novel about love, parenting, and the families we create for ourselves.”  That’s something that Wilson, the husband of poet Leigh Anne Couch and the father of Griff and Patch, knows a thing or two about.

New York: HarperCollins, 2017. 336 pages. Trade paperback