WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA BOOKS
(Please feel free to make suggestions)
Written by Rob Neufeld, February 2007, Revised Sept. 2007
(Go back to starter list
Reading audience key: [E] Young children [C] all children [W] children with adult help [M] middle-school students [H] high school students [G] general readers [S] scholars
• Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (Bantam, 2007). [H,G] Fantasy blooms among women with mundane magical powers; West Asheville author; WNC setting.
• The Days between the Years by Sherry Austin (Overmountain Press
hardcover, Nov. 2007). [H,G] Widowhood brings a world of memories about
her former passionate self to Trixie Goforth, whose voice the author has adopted as a commenter on life.
• Brighten the Corner Where You Are by Fred Chappell (St. Martin’s, 1989) [M,H.G] The 2003 TWR book—a Haywood County teacher has a day of amazing trials.
• Farewell, I’m Bound to Leave You by Fred Chappell (Picador, 1996) [H,G] Mythical stories about women in a family.
• I Am One of You Forever by Fred Chappell [M.H,G] Mythical stories about men in a family.
• Look Back All the Green Valley by Fred Chappell (Picador, 1999) [H,G] The fourth novel in a quartet.
• The Far Family by Wilma Dykeman (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966). [H,G] A mountain family’s imperfect reunion is fraught by a racial incident and a death.
• Return the Innocent Earth by Wilma Dykeman (Wakestone, 1994). [G] One of the masterpieces of fiction about business—based on Dykeman’s husband’s family’s canning company.
• The Gaudy Place by Fred Chappell (LSU Press reprint, 1994) [G] 1950s Asheville is grittily bared.
• The Blue Star by Tony Earley (Little, Brown, 2008). Aliceville continues to be mythologized with Jim as a teen.
• Evenings at Five: A Novel and Five New Stories by Gail Godwin (Ballantine Reader’s Circle edition, 2004). The novella involves a kind of ghost; some of the stories go back to Asheville.
• Evensong by Gail Godwin [Ballantine, 1999]. Sequel to Father Melancholy’s Daughter, zooming in on millennial fever.
• Father Melancholy’s Daughter by Gail Godwin (Morrow, 1991). [G] A spiritual and woman’s odyssey based on an Asheville chapel and community.
• A Mother and Two Daughters by Gail Godwin (Viking, 1981). [H,G] One of Godwin’s fictional Mountain City novels.
• The Odd Woman by Gail Godwin (Random, 1974; Ballantine Reader’s Circle edition, 2005). [H,G] This is the book that cemented Godwin’s reputation as a leading portrayer of woman in modern society.
• A Southern Family by Gail Godwin (Morrow, 1987). A suicide puts a family in turmoil in a town based on Asheville.
• The High-Pitched Laugh of a Painted Lady by Lewis Green (John F. Blair, 1980). Out of print. [G]
• In the Family Way by Tommy Hays (Random, 1999). [H,G] Local literary light’s acclaimed novel about family and racial issues in Greenville S.C.
• The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays (St. Martin’s, 2005). [H,G] Alzheimer’s Disease affects a family.
• At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon (Lion, 1994; Penguin, 1996). [H,G] The first in the lovable series, featuring Father Tim, a community based on Blowing Rock, and crises.
• In This Mountain by Jan Karon (Penguin Putnam, 2002). [H,G] In the seventh Mitford novel, Father Tim faces his own demons.
• These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon (Viking, 1996). The third novel in the Mitford series involves the taking in of a neglected boy. [H,G]
• In a Dark Season by Vicki Lane. The fourth Elizabeth Goodweather novel uses the mystery genre to convey a lot of authentic local lore. (Dell mass market paper, May 2008). [M,H,G]
• The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by Sharyn McCrumb (Simon & Schuster, 1992). [H,G] Included in the tale are Nora Bonesteel’s Sight; a polluting paper company; and a murder.
• Highland Laddie Done Gone by Sharyn McCrumb (Ballantine, 1992). Sleuth Elizabeth McPherson visits Scottish festival. [G]
• Once around the Track by Sharyn McCrumb (Kensington, 2007). Immersion in NASCAR via a likable driver, all-women crew, and commercial pressures. [M,H,G]
• The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb (Dutton, 1996). A burial and mountainside development heighten the drama.
• The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love by Joan Medlicott. [G] First in a series of popular novels about 50-plus women in a community inspired by Barnardsville.
• red woman with backward eyes by MariJo Moore (rENEGADE pLANETS pUBLISHING, 2001). Stories from a contemporary Cherokee woman’s perspective.
• When the Dead Dream by MariJo Moore (Renegade Planets, Aug. 2008). Character-rich novel about a woman’s movement within two cultures, Cherokee and white; triumphant sequel to The Diamond Doorknob
• The Red Church by Scott Nicholson (Pinnacle Books, 2002). [G] The first of several regionally set stories by noted horror writer.
• Casualties: Stories by Ron Rash (bench Press, 2000). [G]
• Chemistry and Other Stories by Ron Rash (Picador, 2007). [H,G].
• The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth by Ron Rash [H,G]
• One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash (Picador, 2002). [H,G] A murder and a tragedy are viewed by various members of a community.
• Saints at the River by Ron Rash (Holt, 2005). [M,H,G] The 2006 TWR book.
• The World Made Straight by Ron Rash (Henry Holt, 2006). Adolescence, the drug world, and redemption play out in the Shelton Laurel area.
• Oral History by Lee Smith (Ballantine, 1984). A college girl visits her relatives to do an oral history project, and delves into history.
• Saving Grace by Lee Smith (G.P. Putnam’s, 1995). A girl grows up with an itinerant snake-handling, charismatic preacher father, often in Haywood County.
• Remember the Alibi by Elizabeth Daniels Squire (1994; Silver Dagger Mysteries, 2000). [M,H,G] A sleuth who compensates for a bad memory solves crimes in Western North Carolina—one of several locally set mysteries by the author.
• Backside of the Country by Sarah Williams (PublishAmerica trade paper, May, 2007). African-American family chronicle, featuring a heart-of-gold heroine and troubles in society and family, Mississippi to Asheville, 1930s to 1970s. [H,G]
• The Four Lost Men: The Previously Unpublished Long Version by Thomas Wolfe, edited by Arlyn and Matthew J. Bruccoli (U. of South Carolina Press hardcover, July 20, 2008). Story based on Wolfe’s dying father lamenting passing of era as U.S. is about to enter WWI. [H,G,S]
• The Hills Beyond by Thomas Wolfe (1941; LSU press, 2000). [H,G]
• Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe (1929; Simon & Schuster, 2006). [H,G]
• O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life by Thomas Wolfe (U. of South Carolina Press, 2000). The original version of Look Homeward, Angel. [G,S]
• Of Time and The River: A Legend of a Man’s Hunger in His Youth by Thomas Wolfe (1935; Scribner, 1999). [G]
• Thomas Wolfe’s Civil War edited by David Madden (U. of Alabama Pr., 2004). [H,G,S]
• The Web and the Rock by Thomas Wolfe (1939; LSU pr., 1999). [G]
• You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe (1941; Perennial, 1998]. [G]