The author, Valerie Nieman, attests that “this novel is a love letter to the genres that have thrilled me over the years, from Tennyson’s Arthurian cycle to Poe’s tales of madness to Lovecraft and Bradbury and Herbert, and films from the schlocky to the great . . . And Appalachia, where I was born, educated, and worked for most of my life [and that] has produced a great body of folk tales and traditions and stores of otherworldly events.” "In Valerie Nieman's thrilling, genre-bending novel To the Bones, the richly rendered setting is inseparable from characters' fears, strengths, and weaknesses and from nearly every tragedy and triumph in the story....The novel takes place in Redbird, West Virginia, run for generations by a coal-baron family, the Kavanaughs, whose evils run far deeper than their exploitation of the land and its people. To help achieve their ends, the Kavanaughs seem to draw dark, otherworldly powers from the coal, and from the land itself. And these powers appear unstoppable, until a few townspeople, and an outsider with some otherworldly powers of his own, try to fight back-often, with deadly consequences.” - Small Press Picks. "Evocative, intelligent prose conjures an anxious mood and strong sense of place while spotlighting the societal and environmental devastation wrought by the coal mining industry." - Kirkus Reviews. "This is the West Virginia novel done right: slam-bang story-telling in tightly controlled language, by turns horrific and funny and beautiful.” – Pinckney Benedict. The author, Valerie Nieman, is now a professor of English at North Carolina A & T State University. She earned a Bachelor’s from West Virginia University and an MFA from Queens in Charlotte.
Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2019. 220 pages. Trade paperback.