“Every written word is a victory against death.” ~ Micheal Butor (Amy’s favorite quote)
Amy Greene is one of a kind. She’s that person you meet only a few times in your life—where you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the appointment was divine. I met her in October of 2010 at an Appalachian arts festival, just as her debut novel, Bloodroot, was taking the literary world by storm. All my friends had read it and told me that it was a book I would love. I bought a signed copy of her book that day and it sparked a friendship that has become precious to me. When I met Amy, there was an instant kinship that is hard to describe. She is almost other-worldly—like she’s been transported from another era, or maybe just straight from heaven, as a special gift to our generation. Maybe it’s the haint blue eyes or the way she can twist words into the most vivid pictures. Whatever it is, it is the most rare and delicate sort of genius—the kind of art that transforms us and shifts something down deep in our souls.
This lady is some kind of wonderful.
Long Man is near and dear to my heart because it’s set in the 30’s as TVA plans to flood an East TN town. (I live on such a lake, made from such a flooding.) When I sat down to read it last month, it felt like Christmas morning. Amy’s writing is lyrical, haunting, memorable, and visual. She is a master at making art with words and I savored every last sentence in the book.
Here’s a little sampling of her prose as the book’s heroine, Annie Clyde, thinks about the threat of water covering her home and land when the Tennessee River will finally be flooded:
She could almost hear it seeking whatever there was outside its banks, searching fingers moving over gnarled root and scaly stump bark. Leaking between trunks and lapping at grasses, mussels clicking against each other and the scoured rocks of the shoals. She dreamed of it coming for her, black and rippling. She woke afraid it would be pooled around the porch steps, the rains bringing it closer and closer. Since spring a scent had been lingering in the eastern part of town where the woods and pastures were halved by the river. She smelled it in the house sometimes, algae and carp and decayed wood from long-ago boats run aground. When she opened her door it slipped in as if to scout her home before the lake came to fill her chimney flue with the opposite of fire.
Amy came over a few weeks ago (she lives just down the road from me!) for lunch and a visit and to talk about the book. I thought I would seriously cry when I saw her. (I know, I’m a crier, but still.) You know that feeling, when someone has affected you so much that their very presence makes you well up? Yeah, she’s THAT kind of sweetness. I couldn’t stop asking her questions about her books, her life, and her dedication to the craft of writing. I asked about all her favorite books, the music she loves, what she eats, when she writes, etc. One thing I’m gonna tell you right now is that she writes every thing long hand in an actual physical notebook. EVERY WORD. I mean, they don’t just make people like that anymore. I saw it with my own two eyes. I keep a journal and do a lot of handwriting, but you can imagine the notebooks full of long hand writing she has. It’s amazing.
Here’s a little synopsis of the book written by Gabe Habash.
Like a classical myth or a painting by Thomas Hart Benton, Greene’s second novel, set in the summer of 1936, transforms a period of cataclysmic history into a gorgeous, tragic tale filled with heroes and heroines. After the Tennessee Valley Authority builds a dam to electrify rural Appalachia, the river that folks have always called Long Man rises a little more with every turn of the page, and most of the families in the town of Yuneetah, Tenn., are long gone, scattered to other cities to take up factory jobs. In days, the hardscrabble farm fields they abandoned will be overcome by water, and Annie Clyde Dodson’s family farm, too, will end up at the bottom of the lake. Only Annie Clydewon’t leave; she’s determined to hold out so that her three-year-old daughter Gracie can inherit her ancestral land. But Gracie disappears with her dog Rusty during a terrible storm, the floodwaters rising by the hour.
Here are a few reviews of Long Man.
Her novel fully inhabits the contradictions within each character and the ironies inherent in destroying a place in the name of progress. A smart and moody historical novel that evokes the best widescreen Southern literature. (Kirkus Reviews)
And from Publisher’s Weekly,
Greene’s enormous talent animates the voices and landscape of East Tennessee so vividly, and creates such exquisite tension, that the reader is left as exhausted and devastated as the characters in this unforgettable story.
I’m giving away a signed copy of Long Man today to one lucky commenter.
Or head on over to Amazon and get your copy of Long Man today!
I would love to own this book! How exciting!
Sounds like an amazing read! I’m in! Thank you for sharing, Edie!
Rachel C. says
Sounds like my kind of book! Would love to read it!
Sounds like a great book! I would love to win a copy.
I always love your book recommendations and I have no doubt I will love reading Amy’s novels as well!
Looking forward to Amy’s writing. Sounds delightful from all the reviews.
thanks for the recommendations. Would love this book!
Thanks for the opportunity. I will have to check her out.
Loved Bloodroot! Would love to read Long Man.
Amy sounds like someone I would love to be friends with, also! I would love to win a copy of her book!
Eleanor Rose says
I loved Amy’s first book and am looking forward to reading this one.
Kimberly Slater says
Bloodroot is a favorite. Would love to have a copy of Long Man.
Our book club read Bloodroot. I agree about the subject of this book. My generation enjoys the lakes that these damns made forgetting all about what it may have cost some people.
Jolina Petersheim says
I’d absolutely love, love, love to win a copy of Long Man; I have a copy of Blood Root already on my shelf. I an in awe of Amy’s lyrical writing.
Sounds like a great read. I’m adding it to my list.
Tammy J says
My great grandparents were deeply affected by the TVA; I’d love to read this book! Thank you.
Everytime you write about your part of the country I think of Bloodroot and that ring! Can’t wait to read Long Man!
Oh, I’d love a copy! Her writing is beautiful!
I am jealous that you can go to a book signing and come home with a new friend!
I’d love to win this book!
I would love a copy! Thanks for the recommendation-I love discovering new authors!
I remember you talking about Amy before, but this post has me so intrigued that I want to go READ ALL THE BOOKS and RIGHT NOW! Thank you, Edie, for sharing about your friend with us!
alicia hall says
We’re about to move into the Appalachian region. I would love to read this book!
thanks for the give-away/opportunity. i love that people do things like this in the world – give things away! and suggest books to read. and write them. and make friends. it’s all just so hopeful and happy. 🙂
one of my top-ten books of all time is “bayou farewell” by mike tidwell. it’s non-fiction, about the consequences of people (government and army corps of engineers mostly) trying to control and re-route the mississippi river, how it made worse the power of hurricane katrina. all that to say (and win or not this give-away) this “long man” book about the tva creating lakes and loss sounds like a book i must read. thanks, amy and edie.
Melissa Martin says
The story sounds very appealing and your review of the author is so warm and inviting how could you not want to pick this very book up and read it.
Darla DenHerder says
I would so love a copy of this book! It sounds wonderful/rich/sad/happy/meaningful ….all of the above!
Sounds interesting. 🙂 Thank you!
Upon your recommendation I bought and reed Blood Root and loved it! I suggested it to my book club and they too loved it… looking forward to this one!
I’ve come to trust your reading taste – so I’m sure this is an excellent read! Would LOVE to win it! Thanks!
Thanks for the opportunity. How lucky you both are to be so close to each other.
sally t says
This sounds amazing. Thanks for giving us a sneak peek, Edie!
Sounds like a wonderful read!
Sarah Griffiths says
Awesome. It sounds great.
jennifer jones says
Loooking forward to reading this book! Would love to win it
Kris Price says
I just saw the write up in the paper today … I think I may have to add another book to my home library! Thanks, Edie, for this review! BTW, I truly miss having you as my doctor. Noone has even come close to replacing you <3
Kathryn C says
I was just on Amazon looking at books – this one sounds interesting. Might have to order the first one too 🙂
Kelli Taylor says
I heart literary fiction. Thanks for the chance to win!
Stacey Mills says
There is nothing quite like a southern writer!
I would love to read this book!!
Cindy Hancock says
Edie, Just the reviews have me waiting on bated breath for what comes next! From someone learning to love reading again,
Lori H says
I can tell I will love her writing!
ooh, ooh – sounds fabulous
I know I would love any book you recommend! Thanks for sharing this one with us!
This book sounds good! Thanks for sharing. I will be adding it to my list.
Shannon G says
thanks for the recommendation! (oh, and I had to look up “haint blue”…pretty color & interesting etymology.)
Kristen Miller says
I would love to read this!
Tracey s says
I enjoyed reading Bloodroot. I am looking forward to this one.
Picturing Bloodroot Mountain as I read transported me to a very real, yet mystical place. Loved it— looking forward to Long Man.
Katie Lake says
I love to hear about local writers from this area. I have a deep affection for Cormac McCarthy and James Agee
i love a book that I can see in my mind’s eye as I read….just the short bit you posted had me there. Can’t wait to read it.
Would love this! I’m from TN, and my grandfather still talks about the family cemetery that was flooded years ago by a similar scenario!
Thanks for the recommendations. I’m always glad to discover another great book!
i would love to read the book
Heidi @ Decor & More says
What a Fantastic giveaway! Always on the hunt for substantive reads and good Southern literature! Thanks for sharing, Edie – xo Heidi
Sara Kiiru says
I love reading and writing in equal measure; so excited to discover another author who will inspire me to do both! Thanks for the intro, Edie.
Book sounds amazing and she sounds like a real gem!
Looking forward to reading both of Amy’s books.
linda melz says
thank you for offering this giveaway amy sounds so sweet and look forward to reading this book even if i dont win
Thanks for posting
I want to read these now 🙂
Her book sounds beautiful. I love long prose styles. I once found I read half a book without ever reading a word–I was reading the commas, the dashes, and the prose structure without ever absorbing a word. I am looking forward to reading Amy’s book for the content too 😉
cant wait to read it!
Loved Bloodroot. Met amy once at a book signing. I agree with your description of her .
The book sounds wonderful! Such thoughtful, beautiful writing.
Fingers crossed that I win! I am a fellow East Tennessean, and I used to teach my 5th graders about the TVA floodings. It is so fascinating!
I would love to get my hands on this!
Sounds like a wonderful book. Can’t wait to read it – I would love to win a copy!
Lou Ann says
What a gift for prose, talk about bringing a book to life!
Southern Gal says
Writing it all out in longhand? Wow. What a legacy and treasure she will leave one day.
Oh Long Man, pick me! I LOVED Bloodroot! Enchanting is the word I use to describe Amy’s writing! Enchanting, like you, my dear! Blessings!H
I have experienced that feeling in my life also. You meet someone and it is an instant feeling of friendship and respect. You both look so happy!
I would love to read her book!
Ashley Madrigal says
I would absolutely love a signed copy of this book!
It sounds like a page turner!
Kelly N says
Would love to get to read more – very tempting!
Jenn A says
Looking forward to reading this. I really enjoyed Bloodroot which I read after you recommended it. Her characters are some of the most real that I have ever met in a novel!
I devoured Bloodroot. I’d love to win Long Man. How lucky you are to live near this incredible author!
Such beautiful, fluid writing! I would love to read it and add it to my library!
If I don’t win the giveaway. I think I’ll buy the book- you’re that convincing Edie! Also, I wish we could be real life friends, but alas, I live in Oklahoma.
Julie Earnest says
I’m always looking for the next good read. Her writing style intrigues me.
excited to add this to my (ever-growing) book list for the year. it sounds like a lovely story.
Erin Ritola says
Hi Ms Edie – I just bought Bloodroot and would love to read Long Man too. Thanks for the introduction to a new author to follow!
I read her first book and loved every word! I would love to own this book as well!
I live in this area as well and would love to read this book!
Eva Vincent says
Her writing is so lovely. Painting pictures with words. Would love to win a copy.
This sounds like such a good book!
Would love to read one of her books… I can scense the passion you have for her writing which is cool cool coming from a writer like your self…
shar y says
this sounds like just the book for my book club! Thanks
Elizabeth Highsmith says
write this down-I want that book-in the hat I go hashtag pick me pick me pick me
wait PICK ME!!! your humble, not-selfish Elizabeth xoxo
Thanks! It sounds wonderful.
Lanita Edvalds says
This sounds like a terrific spring read!
Love finding new authors – can’t wait to pick this up!
Love, love reading about anything & everything local!!
Barbara Fenn says
I read her first book by your suggestion and loved it! Can’t wait to read the next one!!
Von Ann Wells says
I have a love of books and since I have lived in Texas all of my life, I would love to learn more about places that I have never visited and the wonderful history that each state has to tell. I look forward to your posts each day. Thank you so much.
Reading the description of Amy’s writing made me think of Lee Smith and her book, Fair & Tender Ladies. A poignant story about a young girl growing up in Appalachia, one of my all time favorites. I look forward to reading Amy’s books.
Kelly T says
Sounds like a good one! Would love to win! ~kt
Kim Johnson says
It sounds like my kind of book!
If you love it, I know I’ll love it too! Thanks!
I am intrigued…thank you so much for sharing about Amy and her book(s)!
Becky J says
OOOOh baby – I love a good book 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!!
Sounds like a great read! Thank you for the chance to win a copy 🙂
Kim S says
This sounds great!
I’d love to win.
My youngest daughter has just graduated and moved to TN. I think we would both enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the review and a chance to win.
Teresa R says
I lived in Tennessee with my first husband; we got married at the South Holston Dam. This book would be a great read
That story sounds amazing! Can’t wait to read it!
Susan Martin says
Sounds so intriguing! I’ll definitely have to check out Bloodroot.
This sounds lovely… I’m currently a writer and am from God’s country in Franklin, TN, so it seems to be right up my alley!
Julie in Michigan says
I would be honored to win a copy of this book, I am intrigued already!
Sharon Rhodes says
Oh, Amy’s words literally quicken my brain. Would be such a treat to have this book.
Dat Telefon klingelt,Burberry Outlet, dat E-Mail-Programm blinkt,Prada Outlet, jnd der Kollege hat noch eine Frage: In tolchen Sitjationen itt Mjltitatking gefragt. Doch dat mentchliche Gehirn itt für Doppel- jnd Dreifachbelattjngen nicht gemacht. Et geht njr der Reihe nach.Trajrig,Chanel Taschen, aber wahr: Mjltitatking fjnktioniert nicht. Dat mentchliche Gehirn tchaffe et nicht,Hermes Taschen, zwei Ajfgaben gleichzeitig zj erledigen,Ceilne Taschen, tagt der Arbeittmediziner Prof. Tim Hage
Jen Z. says
Thanks for sharing about this book and author, I am always looking for the next great read. I put the book on my Wishlist just the other day and I would love to win a copy!
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