She's one of our favorite people; everytime she's here, it's like a party. Lee returns to us for the paperback edition of Dimestore on Sunday, April 23, at 2 pm. In her first work of nonfiction, Smith deploys the wit, wisdom, and graceful prose for which she is beloved to conjure her early days in the small coal town of Grundy, Virginia: a place of coal miners, mountain music, and her daddy’s dimestore. It was in that dimestore – listening to customers and inventing life histories for the store’s dolls – that she began to learn the craft of storytelling.
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For the inimitable Lee Smith, place is paramount. For forty-five years, her fiction has lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South. But never before has she written her own story.
"Reading Lee Smith ranks among the great pleasures of American fiction . . . Gives evidence again of the grace and insight that distinguish her work." -Robert Stone, author of Death of the Black-Haired Girl
Ivy Rowe, Virginia mountain girl, then wife, mother, and finally "Mawmaw," never strays far from her home-but the letters she writes take her across the country and over the ocean. Writing "to hold onto what's passing," she tells stories that are rich with the life of Appalachia in words that are colloquial, often misspelled, but always beautiful.
On a beautiful June day in 1965, a dozen girls-classmates at a picturesque Blue Ridge women's college-launched their homemade raft (inspired by Huck Finn's) on a trip down the Mississippi. It's Girls A-Go-Go Down the Mississippi read the headline in the Paducah, Kentucky, paper.Thirty-five years later, four of those "girls" reunite to cruise the river again.