Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ann Cummins' "Yellowcake"

Ann Cummins has applied the "Page 69 Test" to her new novel, Yellowcake.

About the book, from the publisher:
[I]n her debut novel, Cummins stakes claim to rich new literary territory with a story of straddling cultures and cheating fate in the American Southwest. Yellowcake introduces us to two unforgettable families — one Navajo, one Anglo — some thirty years after the closing of the uranium mill near which they once made their homes. When little Becky Atcitty shows up on the Mahoneys’ doorstep all grown up, the past comes crashing in on Ryland and his lively brood. Becky, the daughter of one of the Navajo mill workers Ryland had supervised, is now involved in a group seeking damages for those harmed by the radioactive dust that contaminated their world. But Ryland wants no part of dredging up their past—or acknowledging his future. When his wife joins the cause, the messy, modern lives of this eclectic cast of characters collide once again, testing their mettle, stretching their faith, and reconnecting past and present in unexpected new ways.

Finely crafted, deeply felt, and bursting with heartache and hilarity, Yellowcake is a moving story of how everyday people sort their way through life, with all its hidden hazards.

Read an excerpt from Yellowcake.

Among the endorsements and early reviews for the novel:
"Already much admired for her superb short stories, Ann Cummins excels once more with a first novel that places her among the most serious and original writers of her generation."
--Sigrid Nunez, author of The Last of Her Kind and A Feather on the Breath of God

"A gorgeous novel about people who are as tender and ornery and passionate and mixed-up and real as the people we know in real life. I loved them, and I love this book."
--Ann Packer, author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier

"Glorious ... an unflinchingly honest look at the struggles faced by so-called ordinary Americans. But there is nothing at all ordinary about the wonderful, fully fleshed characters that populate this book. Cummins knows the souls of her people — an incredibly wide range of them — and she knows her place, a Southwest that is rendered in all its unromantic but somehow blessed beauty."
--Peter Orner, author of The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Esther Stories

"Cummins brilliantly conflates the insidious damage wrought by radiation sickness with the maladies of the soul caused by prejudice, poverty, nature's abuse, and love's betrayal."
--Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review
The Page 69 Test: Yellowcake.

Cummins' previous book is the acclaimed Red Ant House: Stories.

--Marshal Zeringue