This is a post-apocalyptical novel with a clear Appalachian setting that draws upon traditional folk tales. It takes place after a brutal and devastating Civil War when contagious fevers have decimated the population leaving abandoned farmsteads throughout the isolated mountain valleys and hollows. The female protagonist who remains unnamed has learned how to make paper and ink and trades her skill at letter-writing for firewood, tobacco, and other scarce resources in the region’s barter economy. She allows a migrant group, locally called “The Uninvited,” to camp on her land as tensions increase. “A slim and affecting powerhouse. . . . Hagy is a careful writer; each sentence feels as solid and sturdy as stone. . . . Timely and timeless; a deft novel about the consequences and resilience of storytelling.”―Kirkus Reviews. “Hagy probes the weight of responsibility and the desperation of survival in a deteriorated society in this evocative, opaque tale. . . . The vagueness of setting, supernatural elements, and only partially revealed histories amp up the eeriness of this disquieting novel.”―Publishers Weekly. “Alyson Hagy has written a lyrical, unsettling novel―part ghost story, part mystery, part love story, and thoroughly, jarringly, original.”―Elizabeth Crook. The author, Alyson Hagy was raised on a Blue Ridge Mountain farm in Virginia and now lives in Laramie, Wyoming.
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2018. 157 pages. Trade paperback