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The Gospel of Rot by Gregory Ariail

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The title of this novel tips you off. How it starts and how it ends do not immediately appear to be compatible. So, prepare for a wild ride as this novel is unconventional in multiple respects. It never stays static in terms of time or place, yet it manages to always stay true to the Western North Carolina origins of its 71-year-old protagonist, Amelia. “I do not know from what seed Gregory Arial grew his brilliant imagination, but if I could, I would eat from its fruit and then ask for more. Written in a mixture of murmur and prayer, dust and dream, The Gospel of Rot is an essential field guide for the ghosts of Appalachia.” Sabrina Orah Mark. “I’m blown to smithereens with joy about this uncommonly rare and gorgeous work of art. When you read it, your heart and head and belly will glow like Chinese lanterns, and you’ll be carried away into the very air by Gregory Ariail’s exquisite prose and his gemlike observations, and these characters, who will likely be with you the rest of your life.”  The author, Gregory Ariail, grew up in Appalachian Georgia just north of Atlanta, has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and teaches at the University of Alabama.

Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2022. 173 pages. Trade paperback.