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The narratives throughout Gary Fincke’s sixth collection of short stories contain newsworthy events that are chronicled secondhand: the shooting of a policeman, the murder of a house flipper, the firing of a teacher for punching a violent student, the accidental drowning of a gay man in a flood, and a fire somewhat accidently set by a juvenile smoker in a school.
Despite these surprising events, the narrator of each story is an ordinary person caught up in the action but preoccupied by other things, whether zombie movies, collecting unusual words, the oddity of other people’s sexual habits, or what to do in retirement.
These shocking incidents become both central and peripheral to the narrative, as Fincke portrays the fluctuating emotions and self-protective reflections of fathers, sons, and husbands, creating a world where individuals rarely understand each other, yet still arrive at moments of compassion, tolerance, perseverance, and familial love.
Problems and Prospects for the 2010's
This fourth Rural Sociological Society decennial volume provides advanced policy scholarship on rural North America during the 2010’s, closely reflecting upon the increasingly global nature of social, cultural, and economic forces and the impact of neoliberal ideology upon policy, politics, and power in rural areas.
When Sandy Holston is on dry land, she’s nothing special: a nurse who wears her hair in a ponytail and prefers a fishing lure as an earring. But once she dons waders, picks up a fly rod, and steps into a river, she becomes a remarkable, elegant fisherwoman who’s at peace with the world. After surviving her marriage to Vernon - her violent, incarcerated ex-husband - peace is just what Sandy needs. So she moves to Damascus, a small town on the Ripshin River, where she plans to enjoy the fishing and the solitude. Finally she is on the brink of a life she desires in a place she loves. But as the Ripshin’s trout mysteriously die off, and as Sandy grows closer to a reclusive neighbor who has a propensity for fishing naked, her plans are put in jeopardy. Will Sandy be able to find peace - in the river or out - once Vernon is released from prison and fulfills his promise to hunt her down?
Screaming with the Cannibals is the sequel to the nationally acclaimed cult classic, Crum. In this action-packed novel, Jesse finds himself in an evangelical service in Kentucky—on the other side of the Tug River from his native West Virginia. As the folks touched by the Spirit rave and howl, Jesse remembers how back in Crum they used to tell him to stay on his side of the river—because the people on the other side were know to eat their children. And now, here he is in a holy-roller church, screaming with the cannibals. Since his earlier adventures, Jesse has visited the West Virginia holler where his family lived before moving up to the greater sophistication of Crum. Here he discovers that his favorite uncle has disappeared from the face of the earth in a moonshining accident. He then meets the girl who makes the earth – or at least the hayloft – move for him. From there he goes to Kentucky, and then to Myrtle Beach, where he gets hired as a lifeguard—although he can't even swim a stroke. Of course, Jesse is in a hurry to go. And, he doesn’t much care where. He only knows that his future is out there – somewhere. Not in a coal mine in Crum, West Virginia. Jesse has no possessions. But, he does have an imagination, strength, intelligence—and a strong sense of right and wrong. Throughout these hilarious pages, his virtues are tried and tested all over again as he anxiously searches for the freedom he knows exists outside of his tiny hometown.
In the third and final part of the Crum Trilogy Jesse Stone once again embarks upon his constant search for a place in the world. At the start of The Scummers, Jesse hits the road and heads West, looking to experience something-anything-that will fulfill his intrinsic desires to escape-and to belong. He ends up in California, where he fools around, mischievously fighting and drinking, yet always narrowly escaping punishment. Soon enough, Jesse runs out of luck. He finds himself arrested and is condemned to serve out his sentence under the supervision of the United States Army. Suddenly Jesse Stone can no longer run. Suddenly Jesse Stone is a solider. Full of intense violence and cutting humor, this tale is the culminating confession of a young man who has wandered from a small town in West Virginia and back again in the hopes of finding his home.
West Virginia statehood was long in the making and its start in politics driven by economic interests, not abolition. Dr. Ambler’s 1910 study of sectionalism in Virginia clearly shows how the East and West of Virginia were always destined to separate. First published in 1910, Ambler’s masterpiece and West Virginia’s first foundation history, has long been out of print. Barbara Rasmussen, professor of public history and director of Cultural Resource Management at West Virginia University, does all West Virginians and historians of American history a truly great service by writing a new introduction to Sectionalism in Virginia, setting Ambler’s grand achievement into the context of its production. “By pointing to the economic and political basis for the differences in Virginia, Professor Ambler created a historical process for studying West Virginia history that asked clearer questions and shunned cultural biases.” —from the Introduction by Barbara Rasmussen.
A Close Verse Translation
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late fourteenth-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. In this poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious green warrior. In a struggle to uphold his oath along this quest, Gawain demonstrates chivalry, loyalty, and honor. This new verse translation of the most popular and enduring fourteenth century romance to survive to the present offers students an accessible way of approaching the literature of medieval England without losing the flavor of the original writing. The language of Sir Gawain presents considerable problems to present-day readers as it is written in the West Midlands dialect before English became standardized. With a foreword by David Donoghue, the close verse translation includes facing pages of the original fourteenth-century text and its modern translation.
Medieval European Studies Series, Volume 13
A Brief History
The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia: A Brief History first appeared in 1963, a little book by a man with no training as either a writer or a historian. Since then, this volume has become an essential sourcebook, consulted and quoted in nearly every study of coal field history. The surprising impact and durability of the book are due to both the information in it and the personality behind it. Through the first half of the twentieth century, William Purviance Tams lived coal. Rising from a young coal engineer to a senior coal baron, Tams stood at the center of Southern West Virginia industrialization. When he sold his company in 1955, Tams was the last of the old owner-operators, men with no personal or financial interest outside of coal. Tams wrote a book which could only have come from an ultimate insider. The everyday work of mining coal is here-laying track, blasting and loading the coal. So is the everyday business of coal, from sinking shafts and ventilating the work area, to administering a town and keeping the workers happy. Tams gives the financial details of the volatile business, and offers capsule biographies of the other major developers of the Southern West Virginia coal fields. It was a passion for Tams. He never married, and tended his business and his town with paternal care. After retirement, this industrial baron spent his final decades in a modest bungalow in his little coal-camp community, watching the town he had built fade back into the mountains. It is W. P. Tams's passion and attitude, as much as his place at the center of history, which make The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia worth reading nearly 40 years after its first publication. Tams's 1963 account of his career, The Smokeless Coal Fields of West Virginia, offers a unique perspective on the business and the life of coal mining. The book is especially valuable for its account of the daily life and work of the miners, engineers, and families in the mines and in the mining towns. Our reprint of this fascinating and important book combines Tams's original work with a new introduction by Ronald D. Eller, author of Miners, Millhands, & Mountaineers.
Still Life with Plums is a vibrant collection of short stories that weaves together the outwardly distant lives of several strangers. With heaping doses of dark humor and magical realism, these ten stories enliven a cast of characters scattered throughout the southern portion of the United States. From West Virginians, to Texans and Latinos, Still Life with Plums mines the lives of a Black-Irish West Virginian, a wise-cracking dog groomer, a guilt-ridden ambulance driver, a Guatemalan widow, a Japanese-Latin-American poster child for WWII reconciliation, and a meticulous predator. Marie Manilla’s accessible prose is powerful and richly layered as she births a quirky ensemble that unflinchingly probes the human psyche.