Oral History

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Penguin, Dec 6, 2011 - Fiction - 352 pages
7 Reviews
"The best novel so far by a writer whose growth has been steady and sure . . . . [Oral History] tells the story of the Cantrell family and the odd curse that its members believe to have hung over them. It is a tale that begins in the late 19th century with Granny Younger, the midwife, and continues well into the 20th century through several generations of Cantrells; it is also a tale deeply rooted in the folk culture of the Appalachians, a tale that in the best tradition of folklore contains 'story upon story.'" -- The Washington Post Book World

"A novel as dark, winding, complicated as the hill country itself. . . You could make comparisons to Faulkner and Carson McCullers, to The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Wuthering Heights. You could employ all those familiar ringing terms of praise: 'rare,' 'brilliant,' 'unforgettable.' But Lee Smith and Oral History make you wish all those phrases were fresh and new, that all those comparisons had never before been made. For this is a novel deserving of unique praise." -- The Village Voice

"Deft and assured . . . She is clearly drunk on the language of Appalachia, on its stories and its people . . . . She is nothing less than masterly." -- The New York Times Book Review

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User Review  - turtlesleap - LibraryThing

Excellent writing and a tender portrayal of one of the most maligned of American subcultures at a time in history when things were very different and when reliance on one's family was essential. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hobbitprincess - LibraryThing

I found this book hard to review. The writing is good, and I enjoyed the story, for the most part, but I did not care for the portrayal of the Appalachian people. I'm married to one and am close to ... Read full review


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About the author (2011)

Lee Smith was born in Grundy, VA. She is author of many novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Last Girls, and most recently Guests On Earth. She is a recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award.

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