Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Seven new classics in Southern crime fiction

Polly Stewart grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, where she still lives. She graduated from Hollins University and has an MFA in fiction and a PhD in British literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Her short fiction has appeared in literary collections and journals, including Best New American Voices, The Best American Mystery Stories, Epoch, and the Alaska Quarterly Review. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, CrimeReads, and Poets & Writers, among other publications.

Stewart's new novel is The Good Ones.

At CrimeReads she tagged "seven great novels that celebrate the beauty and the magic of [the South], while also acknowledging it’s not always an easy place to call home." One title on the list:
Amy Greene, Long Man

I don’t think anybody writes Appalachia better than Amy Greene. When I was thinking about this list, it was a toss-up for me whether to include Long Man or her debut, Bloodroot, but I had to go with Long Man because the story at its center—the disappearance of a three-year-old girl from a town about to be flooded by a government-built dam—is so compelling and so terrifying. I’ve always been fascinated by the real-life stories of the towns flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930’s, and Greene makes powerful use of that history of betrayal and longing. This is one of those novels that I remember with such clarity that I feel like I lived through them, and I can’t wait for Greene’s next book.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue