Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean.

Silence can be “an unfortunate and even dangerous act of submission,” editors Adrian Blevins and Karen Salyer McElmurray write in the preface to this collection of thirty-two essays. They speak of the enormous expectation from their “workplaces, families, and the culture at large—to remain silent,” and of the “courage it takes to challenge the silence and speak” about forbidden subjects like religion, class, love, sex, poverty, wounds, and family secrets. The authors of these essays often had to “travel far away from the boundaries of traditional Appalachia, and then circle back—always—to the mountains that made each of them the distinctive thinking and feeling people they ultimately became.” They represent some of today’s finest established and emerging writers with roots in Appalachia. --Southern Literary Review

Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina and a contributor to this collection, tells how writing her life stories helped her embrace the poor, embattled and violent people she’d fled to become a woman who owned her identity.  “Writing it all down was purging,” she says.  “Putting those stories on paper took them out of the nightmare realm and made me almost love myself for being able to finally face them.  More subtly, it gave me a way to love the people I wrote about—even the ones I had fought with or hated.”  The essays in this collection are about healing, not just for the people who became outsiders, but also for the people they left. --Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen Times: Book and Culture Issues

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