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Out of Peel Tree
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summary

Moving through time and space, Out of Peel Tree unfolds the patterns of an Appalachian sensibility that reverberate everywhere: a fatalism balanced by humor and flinty, hard-won hope, an appreciation for the surprises of the everyday, and a search for love and home amid strange and familiar places and people.

This innovative debut novel reveals the lives of a far-flung contemporary Appalachian family through a web of delicate turning points. A child discovers a grandmother she never knew has died. A runaway teen schemes to start a new life in Texas. A man on parole falls hopelessly in love with a shoplifter. A woman receives a letter about her husband’s other wife. An old woman confronts a burglar with the help of her ghost-husband.

United by a connection to their matriarch, these characters search at home and beyond to make a fresh sense of their changing lives. As a novel in stories, Out of Peel Tree brings a new lyricism to the page and a new voice to American and Appalachian literature—a voice deeply inflected by the beauty of the natural world and by working-class grit.


Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page, Praise, Dedication, Quotes
  2. pp. iii-xiii
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. xiv-xiv
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  1. Frontice
  2. pp. xv-xv
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  1. Postcards
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. Remains: Corina
  2. pp. 3-5
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  1. What to Keep, What to Toss: Corina and Ruben
  2. pp. 6-22
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  1. Parole: Ruben
  2. pp. 23-34
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  1. Childhoods
  2. pp. 35-36
  1. Out of Peel Tree: Essie
  2. pp. 37-39
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  1. When My Mama Sang: Corina
  2. pp. 40-42
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  1. Who’s in the Kitchen with Dinah?: Billie
  2. pp. 43-59
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  1. No Souvenirs: Corina
  2. pp. 60-65
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  1. Before Bliss Minimum: Joshua
  2. pp. 66-78
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  1. Roads
  2. pp. 79-80
  1. Dark Early: Billie
  2. pp. 81-87
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  1. Nerve: Anonymous
  2. pp. 88-92
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  1. Dreams and Schemes: Billie
  2. pp. 93-107
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  1. The Last Old Lady on Blossom Street: Essie
  2. pp. 108-122
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  1. Knot: Billie
  2. pp. 123-139
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  1. Heavy Mirror: Corina
  2. pp. 140-143
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 144-144
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  1. About the Author
  2. pp. 145-145
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  1. Reading and Discussion Questions
  2. pp. 146-148
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