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Blackwood
by Michael Farris Smith




Overview -
In this timeless, mythical tale of unforgiving justice and elusive grace, rural Mississippi townsfolk shoulder the pain of generations as something dangerous lurks in the enigmatic kudzu of the woods.
The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who've held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county's aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself -- when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good.
The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts -- of regret and violence -- transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still.
Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who's returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with Celia, the local bar owner. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gift of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. With broken histories and vagabond hearts, the townsfolk wrestle with the evil in the woods -- and the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.

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More About Blackwood by Michael Farris Smith

 
 
 

Overview

In this timeless, mythical tale of unforgiving justice and elusive grace, rural Mississippi townsfolk shoulder the pain of generations as something dangerous lurks in the enigmatic kudzu of the woods.
The town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, though those who've held on have little memory of when that was. Myer, the county's aged, sardonic lawman, still thinks it can prove itself -- when confronted by a strange family of drifters, the sheriff believes that the people of Red Bluff can be accepting, rational, even good.
The opposite is true: this is a landscape of fear and ghosts -- of regret and violence -- transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding a terrible secret deeper still.
Colburn, a junkyard sculptor who's returned to Red Bluff, knows this pain all too well, though he too is willing to hope for more when he meets and falls in love with Celia, the local bar owner. The Deep South gives these noble, broken, and driven folks the gift of human connection while bestowing upon them the crippling weight of generations. With broken histories and vagabond hearts, the townsfolk wrestle with the evil in the woods -- and the wickedness that lurks in each and every one of us.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316529815
  • ISBN-10: 0316529818
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: March 2020
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Blackwood

If you’re looking for an uplifting escape from the harsh cruelties of life, don’t read anything from Michael Farris Smith. Blackwood, the title itself cold and bleak, is the latest example of his evocative storytelling. 

The novel follows several characters as their lives intersect in rural Red Bluff, Mississippi, a miserable town of lost hopes, dead-end dreams and misfortune. Surrounded by hills covered in a sea of overgrown kudzu vines, the town is constantly on the verge of being swallowed whole and forgotten entirely. Not that that would be a bad thing. Travelers would be advised to simply pass on by and not linger, but not everyone has that choice. 

Into this dread landscape come three down-on-their-luck individuals with nowhere else to turn, simply identified as the man, the woman and the boy. The trio take up root on the outskirts of town, living out of their broken-down car while scrounging through trash bins and alleyways for food scraps and supplies. 

At the same time, Colburn Evans returns to town after a long absence to confront his past and forge a new start. When he was younger, Colburn witnessed his father’s death by suicide. His failure to save his father when he had the chance has haunted him ever since. 

Blackwood is startling, brutal and eerie as events spiral out of control for both the boy and Colburn. The boy’s plight seems to mirror Colburn’s, who laments that no one has ever said “it’s not your fault,” four words that could’ve changed everything for him. Smith weaves the pair’s stories together in a hauntingly memorable fashion. 

Blackwood places Smith firmly among the masters of Southern gothic literature. 

 

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