In Crum, a gritty coal town on the West Virginia-Kentucky border, the boys fight, swear, chase and sometimes catch girls. The adults are cramped in and clueless, hemmed in by the mountains. The weight of wonder, dejection, and even possibility loom over this tiny, suffocating town. This story is the tale of Jesse Stone, who doesn’t know where he’s going, but knows he is leaving, and whose rebellion against the people and the place of his childhood allows him to reject the comfort and familiarity of his home in search of his place in a larger world.
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Lee Maynard was born and raised in the hardscrabble ridges and hard-packed mountains of West Virginia, an upbringing that darkens and shapes much of his writing. His work has appeared in such publications such as Columbia Review of Literature, Appalachian Heritage, Kestrel, Reader's Digest, The Saturday Review, Rider Magazine, Washington Post, Country America, and The Christian Science Monitor. Maynard gained public and literary attention for his depiction of adolescent life in a rural mining town in his first novel, Crum, and received a Literary Fellowship in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts to complete its sequel, Screaming with the Cannibals.
An avid outdoorsman and conservationist, Maynard is a mountaineer, sea kayaker, skier, and former professional river runner. Currently, Maynard serves as President and CEO of The Storehouse, an independently funded, nonprofit food pantry in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He received the 2008 Turquoise Chalice Award to honor his dedication to this organization.From Publishers Weekly:
With its preoccupation with adolescent sex, and a plethora of obscene and scatological language, silly pranks and fisticuffs, this inaugural novel in the Washington Square Press original fiction line will only appeal to readers with sophomoric tastes. Maynard, 51, sets his first effort, a 1950s coming-of-age story, in his native Crum, W. Va., "located deep in the bowels of the Appalachians, on the bank of the Tug River, the urinary tract of the mountains." The nameless narrator repetitiously cites his desire to leave this mining town, which was "a zero. A blank. Nothing"rife with poverty and ignorance and bereft of indoor toilets. "We would try anything to relieve the monotony of living in Crum," he says, and the novel details his antics during his final year in the dump, which he flees after completing high school. He and his buddies dynamite outhouses, rob delivery trucks, expose themselves, witness pig butcherings and pick fights with Kentucky teens. There is much potential material here in the plight of the narrator, a lonely orphan who lives in a shed tacked onto the back of a cousin's shack. But Maynard's characters are inscrutable to themselves ("Don't ask me why I did it, I just did," says the hero when he insults a friend) and, ultimately, to the reader.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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