Synopses & Reviews
From the critically acclaimed author of Bloodroot,
a gripping, wondrously evocative novel of a family in turmoil, set against the backdrop of real-life historical event — the story of three days in the summer of 1936, as a government-built dam is about to flood an Appalachian town, and a little girl goes missing.
A river called Long Man has coursed through East Tennessee from time immemorial, bringing sustenance to the people who farm along its banks and who trade among its small towns. But as Long Man opens, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plans to dam the river and flood the town of Yuneetah for the sake of progress — to bring electricity and jobs to the region — are about to take effect. Just a few days remain before the river will rise, and most of the town has been evacuated. Among the holdouts is a young, headstrong mother, Annie Clyde Dodson, whose ancestors have lived for generations on her mountaintop farm; she’ll do anything to ensure that her three-year-old daughter, Gracie, will inherit the family’s land. But her husband wants to make a fresh start in Michigan, where he’s found work that will bring the family a more secure future. As the deadline looms, a storm as powerful as the emotions between them rages outside their door. Suddenly they realize that Gracie is nowhere to be found. Has the little girl simply wandered off into the rain? Or has she been taken by Amos, the mysterious drifter who has come back to Yuneetah, perhaps to save his hometown in a last, desperate act of violence?
Suspenseful, visceral, gorgeously told, Long Man is a searing portrait of a tight-knit community brought together by change and crisis, and of one family facing a terrifying ticking clock. A novel set in history that resonates with our own times, it is a dazzling and unforgettable tour de force.
“Unforgettable. Like a classical myth, Greene’s second novel, set in the summer of 1936, transforms a period of cataclysmic history into a gorgeous, tragic tale filled with heroes and heroines....Greene’s enormous talent animates the voices and landscape of East Tennessee so vividly, and creates such exquisite tension, that the reader is left devastated.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Haunting...Long Man revisits blue-collar Appalachia with the same lyricism Greene brought to her magnificent first novel, Bloodroot....With searing eloquence, she seems to channel the frustrations of generations of rural poor in this stark indictment of a government hell-bent on destroying a long-standing community. Her stunning insight into a proud and insular people is voiced with cold clarity and burning anger.” Booklist (starred review)
“Harrowing, riveting....The Tennessee Valley Authority was designed to help modernize the state during the Great Depression, but [it] only spells destruction for the town of Yuneetah. Greene’s excellent second novel focuses on the holdouts who refuse to leave, chief among them a husband and wife [whose] 3-year-old daughter goes missing. The lead suspect in her disappearance is a one-eyed Yuneetah native who’s spent much of his life as a drifter connected to violent protests against [the] government. Greene’s [prose] is sinuous and tonally mythic; Gracie’s disappearance, alongside Amos’ cat-and-mouse game with authorities, gives the novel a welcome propulsion. Long Man fully inhabits the ironies inherent in destroying a place in the name of progress....A smart and moody historical novel that evokes the best widescreen Southern literature.” Kirkus (starred review)
About the Author
Amy Greene is the author of the national best seller Bloodroot. She was born and raised in the foothills of East Tennessee's Smoky Mountains, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Read exclusive essays by Amy Greene from 2010