Category Archives: Dykeman, Wilma

Wilma Dykeman. The Far Family. New York: Hold, Rinehart and Winston, 1966.

The Far Family picks up after Dykeman’s The Tall Woman and tells the story of Lydia McQueen’s children and grandchildren.  The novel opens in the twentieth century when protagonist Ivy Thurston Cortland, Lydia’s granddaughter, is an old woman.   Ivy and her siblings Clay, Frone, Phoebe, and Kin have left their Nantahala home for other areas of the country, but crisis strikes when Clay returns to the valley town.  An African American man is murdered shortly after his arrival, and Clay is accused of the crime.  The novel’s chapters alternate between “yesterday” and “today” to tell the story of the Martha McQueen Thurston’s children as they reunite to help their brother Clay.  The “today” chapters focus on the family crisis, while the “yesterday” chapters relate the family’s beginning.  Martha and her husband Tom purchased the mountain land where Lydia and Mark McQueen raised their family in The Tall Woman, but Martha’s children have a different relationship with the land than she did when she was a girl.  The family ties are tested and prevail.

Check this title’s availablity in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1966, Dykeman, Wilma, Mountains

Wilma Dykeman. The Tall Woman. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962.

Wilma Dykeman tells the story of a tight-knit mountain family living in Appalachia as the Civil War ends and Reconstruction begins.  Lydia McQueen moves to a mountain clearing when her husband, Mark, returns from fighting for the Union during the Civil War and has a difficult time readjusting to their predominately Confederate town in the valley.  On the mountain they raise six children, just a few hours away from Lydia’s parents and siblings who live in the valley below.  The family survives the hardships of mountain life and other trials during a time of political and economic difficulty. Lydia is a woman of action who works hard to rebuild her community and leave the next generation with something better – a school.

The Tall Woman features well-developed characters and relationships without neglecting the character of the Appalachian environment.  Lydia is no less tied to her family than she is the land she farms and the livestock she raises.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1962, Dykeman, Wilma, Graham, Historical, Mountains