In this revised edition of his classic 1983 short story collection, Michael Henson is at the height of his poetic and storytelling powers. All the neo-Gothic Faulknerian themes are updated here (think Jayne Anne Phillips or Lee Smith): the betrayals of family, alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual passion, and devastating poverty. From the caged violence of urban streets to the struggle for subsistence in the rural outback, Henson brings his eye and ear for detail to bear on trampled persimmons and greased ball bearings, on haunting wails of trains, trucks and cars. Battered by the socioeconomic conditions into which they are born, buoyed and betrayed by the cultural traditions they inherit, Henson's characters stumble through their lives, bewildered, frustrated, angry but also, in the end, defiant. And in that, they affirm, however belatedly, their indomitable humanity. -Tyrone Williams, author of Adventures of Pi: Poems
Michael Henson was raised in Sidney, Ohio, and has worked as a schoolteacher in rural Appalachia, a farm hand, machine tender, and a house painter. But for most of his career he has alternated between work as a drug and alcohol counselor and a community organizer running a neighborhood community center, working on public school issues, and opposing environmental pollution in an urban Appalachian neighborhood. For nearly thirty years, he has served as an adjunct professor of English at Xavier. He earned degrees in English at Xavier University in Cincinnati and the University of Chicago. He served as an officer of the Council of the Southern Mountains, Appalachian Focus, and other Appalachian and civil rights groups. He is a member of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative and has served as co-editor of their annual publication, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. He plays mandolin and guitar with the Old Coney Bluegrass Band and with the roots duo Carter Bridge. He is the author of four books of fiction and four collections of poetry. His book, The Way the World Is: the Maggie Boylan Stories, won the 2014 Brighthorse Prize in Short Fiction.
John Crawford is a critic and the publisher of West End Press, which first published this novella and stories in 1983.