Synopses & Reviews
Following the divorce of her parents in the mid-1970s, teenager Jackie Stalnaker is sent away to live with her grandmother in the small town of Burnt House in central West Virginia. Not at all bored by the place, grateful to get away from her squabbling parents, and something of a snoop, Jackie is fascinated by the people she comes to know and is determined to discover--or at least imagine--all their stories and secrets. "Tragedies," Jackie reports. "Screw-ups. Cruelties. Bad, bad, sad things that nobody ever forgot, things people never talked about openly but only sometimes related in whispered hinting half-stories after dark." Burnt House is both the story of what Jackie learns about the town and of her own reaction to her increasing knowledge, a darkly comic, gothic exploration of a town and the people who live there--and an examination of the stories they tell and the histories they know.