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Like a classical myth or a painting by Thomas Hart Benton, Greene's second novel (after Bloodroot), set in the summer of 1936, transforms a period of cataclysmic history into a gorgeous, tragic tale filled with heroes and heroines. After the Tennessee Valley Authority builds a dam to electrify rural Appalachia, the river that folks have always called Long Man rises a little more with every turn of the page, and most of the families in the town of Yuneetah, Tenn., are long gone, scattered to other cities to take up factory jobs. In days, the hardscrabble farm fields they abandoned will be overcome by water, and Annie Clyde Dodson's family farm, too, will end up at the bottom of the lake. Only Annie Clydewon't leave; she's determined to hold out so that her three-year-old daughter Gracie can inherit her ancestral land. But Gracie disappears with her dog Rusty during a terrible storm, the floodwaters rising by the hour. Only a few-the sheriff, Annie Clyde's aunt Silver, and the mysterious drifter Amos, among them-are left to help Annie Cylde and Gracie's dad, James, search through the tangle of sodden woods and fields already knee high in muck. Greene's enormous talent animates the voices and landscape of East Tennessee so vividly, and creates such exquisite tension, that the reader is left as exhausted and devastated as the characters in this unforgettable story. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Greene's second novel revisits blue-collar Appalachia with the same haunting lyricism she brought to her magnificent first novel, Bloodroot (2010). In the summer of 1936, the Tennessee Valley Authority has determined to dam the river Long Man and flood the town of Yuneetah in eastern Tennessee in the name of progress. Just one day remains before the town will be flooded, and most of the citizens have been evacuated. But there are a handful of people who refuse to leave the land that has been in their familiesfor generations. Among them is Annie Clyde Dodson, who longs for her three-year-old daughter, Gracie, to grow up on her beautiful mountaintop farm. As a storm starts to rage, Gracie goes missing, and the sheriff, as well as Annie's few remaining neighbors, must cover miles of wild country in search of the toddler. In addition, the mysterious Amos, an orphan who grew up in Yuneetah, has returned for one final act of vengeance. Greene, with searing eloquence, seems to channel the frustrations of generations of rural poor in this stark indictment of a soulless government hell-bent on destroying a long-standing community. Her stunning insight into a proud and insular people is voiced with cold clarity and burning anger.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist