Oral History

Front Cover
Penguin, Dec 6, 2011 - Fiction - 352 pages
5 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librarian1204 - LibraryThing

I wanted so much to love this book since it was a recommendation from a friend whose literary taste seems to be in synch with mine. I like the beginning stories. I liked Almarine and Pricey Jane. The ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mattchisholm - LibraryThing

It was astounding to delve into Lee Smith's Appalachian family novel after already having been indoctrinated with the works of Frazier and Rash. Of couse, Smith's work pre-dates these two towering modern authors, and as such, has a certain unpolished, shotgunning effect. Read full review


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About the author (2011)

Lee Smith was born in Virginia. She is the author of ten novels and four story collections. She lives in North Carolina and Maine.

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