by Rebecca, May 26, 2005 5:54 PM
I'm from Kentucky, so I was eager to see what Chris Offutt had to say for us hillbillies. While Offutt grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, I did not, but my parents grew up on tobacco farms in Central Kentucky. As native Kentuckians, we have a shared heritage and mythology, the identity given to us by the outside world. It's what we seek and what we run from at the same time. These stories and the characters Offutt creates are damn good. He's a skilled writer who doesn't sentimentalize his subject, doesn't make poverty or violence seem cliché, doesn't for one second let you forget that he knows what he's talking about. This book harbors humor and heartbreak, deep despair and blinding ignorance, with enough room for faith and love in a place still forgotten and in the face of an existence most of us know nothing about.