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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: “Hills of Fire: Bare-Knuckle Yarns of Appalachia” edited by Frank Larnerd, Woodland Press, 2012, 115 pages.



This ode, of sorts, to Appalachia is a slim volume bursting with rock ‘em sock ‘em moonshine fueled action.

I had to write that but don’t get me wrong, ‘Hills of Fire’ is not a cliché and not a volume to be minimized. Each tale is unique, and there are twelve of them, standing strong on their own, lovingly updating the legend of this culturally rich region.

To the average reader Appalachia means poverty; an area of the country commonly and ignorantly recognized for bare feet, ‘twangy’ talk, Hatfields, McCoys and sour mash. Oh, yes, and the ‘bubbling crude…’ While all of these icons are lurk in the pieces presented, these stories are smarter and crisper than their backdrops and just plain fun.

And yet there is a common thread here, edited masterfully by Frank Larnerd, there is a hint of the whimsy in bringing these stories together. This unified tone of dealing with some serious issues in a lighter yet plausible vein weaves each writer’s independent visions together in a cohesive and positive tome. This mosaic is so vibrant and so compelling that a shiny penny is always coming up.

There is no sameness here; no ‘I just thought I read that’ found in some anthologies. So grab your Daisy in her daisy dukes, chomp down harder on that corncob pipe and pull on up to the pickle barrel and read ‘Hills of Fire’, Goodness Gracious.

2 comments:

F. Larnerd said...

Thanks for the great review, Joseph!

JosephPatchen said...

Thank you for the great book.

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