A profound portrait of family dynamics in the rural South and “an essential novel” (The New Yorker)
“As close to flawless as any reader could ask for . . . The living language [Allison] has created is as exact and innovative as the language of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye.” —The New York Times Book Review
The publication of Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina was a landmark event that won the author a National Book Award nomination and launched her into the literary spotlight. Critics have likened Allison to Harper Lee, naming her the first writer of her generation to dramatize the lives and language of poor whites in the South. Since its appearance, the novel has inspired an award-winning film and has been banned from libraries and classrooms, championed by fans, and defended by critics.
Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family—a tight-knit clan of rough-hewn, hard-drinking men who shoot up each other’s trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly. At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective. When her stepfather Daddy Glen, “cold as death, mean as a snake,” becomes increasingly more vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney—and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back.
“Simply stunning . . . A wonderful work of fiction by a major talent.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A hell of a writer—tough and loose, clear and compassionate.”
—The Village Voice
“Compulsively readable . . . Allison can make an ordinary moment transcendent with her sensuous mix of kitchen-sink realism and down-home drawl.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Tough, plainspoken, and thoroughly unsentimental.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“This book will resonate within you like a gospel choir.”