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Synopsis

Celebrated as the "Dean of Appalachian Literature," James Still has won the appreciation of audiences in Appalachia and beyond for more than seventy years. The author of the classics River of Earth (1940) and The Wolfpen Poems (1986), Still is known for his careful prose construction and for the poetry of his meticulous, rhythmic style. Upon his death, however, one manuscript remained unpublished. Still's friends, family, and fellow writer Silas House will now deliver this story to readers, having assembled and refined the manuscript to prepare it for publication. Chinaberry, named for the ranch that serves as the centerpiece of the story, is Still's last and perhaps greatest contribution to American literature.

Chinaberry follows the adventures of a young boy as he travels to Texas from Alabama in search of work on a cotton farm. Upon arriving, he discovers the ranch of Anson and Lurie Winters, a young couple whose lives are defined by hard work, family, and a tragedy that haunts their past. Still's entrancing narrative centers on the boy's experience at the ranch under Anson's watchful eye and Lurie's doting care, highlighting the importance of home, whether it is defined by people or a place.

In this celebration of the art of storytelling, Still captures a time and place that are gone forever and introduces the reader to an unforgettable cast of characters, illustrating the impact that one person can have on another. A combination of memoir and imagination, truth and fiction, Chinaberry is a work of art that leaves the reader in awe of Still's mastery of language and thankful for the lifetime of wisdom that manifests itself in his work.

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