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Strange as This Weather Has Been

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Strange as This Weather Has Been Cover

ISBN13: 9781593761660
ISBN10: 159376166x
Condition:
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set in present day West Virginia, Ann Pancake's debut novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been, tells the story of a coal mining family — a couple and their four children — living through the latest mining boom and dealing with the mountaintop removal and strip mining that is ruining what is left of their mountain life. As the mine turns the mountains to slag and wastewater, workers struggle with layoffs and children find adventure in the blasted moonscape craters.

Strange As This Weather Has Been follows several members of the family, with a particular focus on fifteen-year-old Bant and her mother, Lace. Working at a "scab" motel, Bant becomes involved with a young miner while her mother contemplates joining the fight against the mining companies. As domestic conflicts escalate at home, the children are pushed more and more outside among junk from the floods and felled trees in the hollows — the only nature they have ever known. But Bant has other memories and is as curious and strong-willed as her mother, and ultimately comes to discover the very real threat of destruction that looms as much in the landscape as it does at home.

Review:

"A hard-living Appalachian family weathers a contemporary coal boom in the debut from West Virginia native Pancake. Soon after their first meeting in the 1980s, college freshman Lace See and 15-year-old local boy James Makepeace Turrell ('Jimmy Make') conceive their first child. Nearly 20 years later, Lace is uneasily settled as a mother to Jimmy's four children as a flurry of strip mining and clear cutting make the mountains she has known since childhood unrecognizable. One summer right after a strip-mining induced flood, things come to a head. Lace's environmental activism ramps up; daughter Bant, working at a local motel, discovers her allegiance to the mountains and her sexuality; each of Lace and Jimmy's three sons (Corey, Jimmy and Dane) is touched in turn by the collapsing economy and environment. Lush descriptions of the landscape are matched with a hurtling stream-of-consciousness narration to great effect: one doubts neither the characters' voices nor their places in a very complex poverty." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The best kind of reportage fiction: evocative and meaningful." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Pancake...makes her point in Strange as This Weather Has Been in a powerful, sure-footed and haunting way: People aren't dirt. But they know when they're being treated like dirt, whether in the Lower Ninth Ward or the hills of West Virginia." New York Times

Review:

"Championing the protection of our environment, it will shake up readers to action and make them aware that what were doing to this land is not only murder — it is suicide. Essential reading." Library Journal

Review:

"To understand the human toll such destruction exacts, one must turn to fiction, for novels such as Pancake's reflect deeper, timeless truths." Booklist

About the Author

Ann Pancacke grew up in Romney, West Virginia and as an adult continues to be haunted by the Appalachia of her childhood. She graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University, obtained her M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina, and earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. She has taught extensively in Japan, American Samoa, and Thailand. Her short stories have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and Antietam Review; she has also published creative non-fiction and scholarly articles. Her numerous awards include the Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Fiction, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writers' Fellowship Grant, and scholarship and teaching awards. She presently teaches at Penn State Erie.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

h, July 21, 2011 (view all comments by h)
This novel is an impressive debut that is a stunning complement to devastating mountain top removal mining practices. It is as faithful to the complexity of the environmental and economic issues as it is to the complexity of narrative voice. It's the book that this urgent issue and contemporary fiction need.
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wewells, July 19, 2009 (view all comments by wewells)
A stunning success, especially for a debut novel. Coal is king in West Virginia, but as the horrific practices of strip mining and mountaintop removal methods become the faster, cheaper choice of modern times, the lives of those who call these mountains home are changed forever. Their story is told here in alternating voices and with such truth and honesty and realism, you feel as if you too could wake tomorrow to find the landscape around you has disappeared and the people you care about gone.
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(3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
ex-pat, June 23, 2008 (view all comments by ex-pat)
Compelling narrative voices evoke an Appalachian family brilliantly. Lace and Bant and their passions, took me to West Virginia and drew me into their struggle. A breathtaking read.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781593761660
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Pancake, Ann
Publisher:
Counterpoint
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
West virginia
Subject:
Mountain life
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20070928
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 19 oz

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Strange as This Weather Has Been Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Shoemaker & Hoard - English 9781593761660 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A hard-living Appalachian family weathers a contemporary coal boom in the debut from West Virginia native Pancake. Soon after their first meeting in the 1980s, college freshman Lace See and 15-year-old local boy James Makepeace Turrell ('Jimmy Make') conceive their first child. Nearly 20 years later, Lace is uneasily settled as a mother to Jimmy's four children as a flurry of strip mining and clear cutting make the mountains she has known since childhood unrecognizable. One summer right after a strip-mining induced flood, things come to a head. Lace's environmental activism ramps up; daughter Bant, working at a local motel, discovers her allegiance to the mountains and her sexuality; each of Lace and Jimmy's three sons (Corey, Jimmy and Dane) is touched in turn by the collapsing economy and environment. Lush descriptions of the landscape are matched with a hurtling stream-of-consciousness narration to great effect: one doubts neither the characters' voices nor their places in a very complex poverty." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The best kind of reportage fiction: evocative and meaningful."
"Review" by , "Pancake...makes her point in Strange as This Weather Has Been in a powerful, sure-footed and haunting way: People aren't dirt. But they know when they're being treated like dirt, whether in the Lower Ninth Ward or the hills of West Virginia."
"Review" by , "Championing the protection of our environment, it will shake up readers to action and make them aware that what were doing to this land is not only murder — it is suicide. Essential reading."
"Review" by , "To understand the human toll such destruction exacts, one must turn to fiction, for novels such as Pancake's reflect deeper, timeless truths."
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