Tag Archives: Award

Karen Salyer McElmurray. The Motel of the Stars. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2008.

It has been 10 years since Jason Sanderson’s son Sam was lost at sea. Over the years Jason has moved from North Carolina to Kentucky and remarried, but he never really dealt with his grief and his wife’s New Age attempts to help him do so backfire. Sam’s lover Lory has also spent the last decade with her grief, hiding from the world in her father’s rural hotel. After Jason meets Lory, their stories and memories of Sam are told in a series of flashbacks. Both Jason and Lory head toward Grandfather Mountain and the celebration of the Harmonic Convergence Anniversary Gathering, hoping to find some kind of peace. The Motel of the Stars won the 2003 AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction and was a National Book Critics Circle Notable Book.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Avery, McElmurray, Karen Salyer, Mountains

Margaret Maron. Bootlegger’s Daughter. New York: Mysterious Press, 1992.

Lawyer Deborah Knott is a modern southern woman, but as the only daughter of a notorious, retired bootlegger, she still has one foot in the traditions of the old south. After one of the local judges is particularly and unnecessarily harsh on one of her partner’s clients, she decides to run for a seat as district judge in Colleton County. The campaign is a hard one, but Deborah is also distracted by her large family and gets tangled up in trying to resolve the 18-year old unsolved murder of a neighbor. The first in the Deborah Knott series of mysteries, Bootlegger’s Daughter also won four of the major mystery awards: the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, & Macavity Awards.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Ron Rash. Serena. New York: Ecco, 2008.

Set in 1929, Serena begins with timber-baron George Pemberton bringing his new wife from Boston to the North Carolina Mountains. The wife is the titular Serena, an ambitious and intelligent woman who is a good match for her husband and who quickly settles into life in the lumber camp. But as many of her material desires are met, she also faces dissatisfactions due to uncertain investors, the presence of Pemberton’s illegitimate child, and the U.S. government’s attempts to buy land to form Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Her ambitions and cruelty grow. In addition to portraying Serena as a Lady MacBeth-like character, author Ron Rash also presents a look at early environmentalism and shows the harsh and dangerous world of timber labor during the Great Depression. Serena was listed as one of the best books of 2008 by The New York Times, Amazon.com and Publishers Weekly.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Haywood, Historical, Mountains, Rash, Ron

Theodore Taylor. The Weirdo. New York: Harcourt Paperbacks, 2006.

A four-year ban on hunting in the Powhatan Swamp is about to expire and the situation creates tension between local environmentalists and hunters. One of the people spearheading the conservation efforts is teenager Chip Clewt, a boy generally more comfortable with animals than with people. The controversy heats up after the disappearance of a graduate student who was working on tracking the local bears. Originally published in 1992, The Weirdo was that year’s winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Mystery, Novels in Series, Taylor, Theodore

Randall Kenan. Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992.

Randall Kenan introduced readers to the fictional town of Tims Creek in his 1989 novel A Visitation of Spirits and continued its story in his second book, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. Its twelve short stories are connected by the town, a cast of recurring characters, and the themes of death, sex, and poverty. The title story is a parody of a scholarly article, complete with a deceased fictional author and extensive footnotes. Let the Dead Bury Their Dead was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Lambda Award.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1992, Coastal Plain, Kenan, Randall, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Miriam Herin. Absolution. Charlotte, NC: Novello Festival Press, 2007.

Maggie Delany’s husband Richard is killed when he tries to protect a drugstore clerk during a robbery. It seems that the case will be open-and-shut until a past acquaintance of Maggie’s joins the defense team and speculates that the shooting had more to do with Richard’s past experiences during the Vietnam War than random chance. As Maggie struggles to find the truth and uncovers details of her husband’s involvement with the war, she remembers and reflects on her own participation in the anti-war movement. The novel’s action takes place in the cities of Charlotte, New York, and Boston, as well as the jungles of Southeast Asia. Absolution was the winner of both the 2007 Novello Literary Award and Independent Publisher‘s 2008 Gold Award for Best Fiction in the Southeastern Region.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Herin, Miriam, Mecklenburg, Piedmont

Allan Gurganus. The Practical Heart. New York: Knopf, 2001.

Three of the four novellas in this collection are set in North Carolina. “He’s One, Too” is set in fictional Falls, N.C., which is probably based on the author’s hometown of Rocky Mount. The Practical Heart won the 2002 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for the best work of fiction by a North Carolinian.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Gurganus, Allan, Nash, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Ron Rash. The World Made Straight. New York: Holt, 2006.

Past and present are entertwined in this novel when 17-year-old Travis Shelton begins to investigate his ancestors’ role in the 1863 Civil War massacre at Shelton Laurel. Travis has just dropped out of school and spends most of his time hanging out and reading history with a former teacher in Madison County, N.C. The teacher has turned to selling pot to make a living and needs Travis’s help when he gets in over his head with nearby drug dealers.

The World Made Straight won the 2006 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Madison, Mountains, Rash, Ron, Suspense/Thriller

Reynolds Price. A Long and Happy Life. New York: Atheneum, 1962.

Price’s widely acclaimed first novel is the story of Rosacoke Mustian and her unshakable adoration for the rakish Wesley Beavers. Rosacoke’s patient and unselfish love appears wasted on Wesley, a motorcycle- riding skirt-chasing Navy veteran who simply seems too impatient to settle down. The setting in rural eastern North Carolina is carefully and lyrically described.

A Long and Happy Life won the 1962 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction.

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Filed under 1960-1969, 1962, Coastal Plain, Price, Reynolds, Warren

Charles Price. Freedom’s Altar. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 1999.

Set in the violent, lawless days just after the Civil War, this novel explores the deeply complicated questions about how the South would recover and adjust to new ideas about race and class. Daniel McFee, a former slave who had fought for the Union, has returned home to western North Carolina to become a sharecropper on land owned by his old master, Madison Curtis. Despite good intentions, both Curtis and McFee have trouble adjusting to this new relationship. It’s especially hard to make any meaningful progress when the whole region is overrun with violent vigilantes all too willing to take matters into their own hands. The novel is based in part on the author’s family history. Freedom’s Altar won the 1999 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for the best novel by a North Carolinian.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Historical, Mountains, Price, Charles