This is the coming-of-age story of Speer Whitfield, growing up in 1940s West Virginia. It is a compelling and artfully-done novel, never really surpassed by Kinder who wrote three more novels and three poetry collections and enjoyed a career as a creative writing teacher and a reputation as one of West Virginia’s “Outlaw Authors,” along with the late Lee Maynard. Is it autobiographical? Probably at least to a considerable degree. “A language feast, sweet and sad as the West Virginia landscape it describes. Ahead of its time when first published, this important novel now at last has a chance to find its true audience.” - Ed McClanahan. “A beautifully achieved novel, wrought in a prose warmed and contoured with kind of a sculptor’s touch, evoked in crystal-bright incidents which bend neither to sentiment nor easy bitterness.” - Scott Turow. “An excellent novel about a West Virginia childhood. Kinder has, to begin with, a good sense of his region: he has rested his story on the firmest possible bases, namely character and place. His dialogue, particularly that of his female characters, is first rate. One would like to secure for this excellently crafted book all the readers one can. - Larry McMurtry.
Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, a 2018 reprint of a 1973 release from Knopf, reprinted in 1991 by Gnomon. 212 pages. Trade paperback