Weedeater
An Illustrated Novel

By Robert Gipe

“Robert Gipe is the real deal: a genuine storyteller, a writer of wit and style, wisdom and heart. His characters are as alive as anybody I know, and his sentences jump off the page. I find myself reading them out loud to whoever’s handy and saying, ‘This is how it’s done.’”

Jennifer Haigh, author of Heat and Light

Weedeater had me by the heart and the gut. It is big, bad, throaty, loving storytelling of giant proportions and devastating quickness. It’s an incredible book, and it’s made me a Robert Gipe fan for life. Read this.”

Kayla Rae Whitaker, author of The Animators

“Dawn Jewell is back and so is Robert Gipe. Weedeater is a pitch-perfect look at our beloved Appalachia, at once an amalgam of masterful writing and characters that are funny and smart and fully human. Such a powerful book.”

Crystal Wilkinson, author of The Birds of Opulence

“No other work in this century shifted the literary landscape of Appalachia like the publication of Robert Gipe’s novel Trampoline. Now comes its sequel—just as searing, relentless, and gripping. With his cast of misfits, Gipe is redefining and reimagining the American social novel. His language is lightning on the page.”

Erik Reece, author of Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness

Weedeater is a contemporary story of love and loss told by a pair of eastern Kentucky mountaineers. Gene is a lovelorn lawnman who bears witness to the misadventures of a family entangled in drugs, artmaking, and politics, a family beset by environmental and self-destruction. And a young mother, Dawn Jewell, is at the center of the family. She spends the pages of Weedeater searching—for lost family members, lost youth, lost community, and lost heart. Weedeater is a story about how we put our lives back together when we lose the things we thought we couldn’t bear losing, how we find new purpose in what we thought were scraps and trash caught in the weeds.

Weedeater picks up six years after the end of Robert Gipe’s first novel, Trampoline, and continues the story of the people of Canard County, Kentucky. In Weedeater, the reader finds Canard County living through the last hurrah of the coal industry and the most turbulent and deadly phase of the community’s battle with opioid abuse. The events it chronicles are frantic, but its voice is by turns taciturn and angry, filled with humor and stoic grace.


Robert Gipe lives in Harlan, Kentucky, and grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee. His fiction has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Still, Motif, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel.

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Related Subjects

Fiction · Appalachia

Formats

Hardcover

978-0-8214-2309-7
Retail price: $27.95, T.
Release date: Mar. 2018
159 illus. · 250 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World

Electronic

978-0-8214-4625-6
Release date: Mar. 2018
159 illus. · ≅ 250 pages
Rights: World

Additional Praise for Weedeater

“With Canard County and its cast of unforgettable characters, Robert Gipe has created his own little postage stamp of Appalachia—a place broken by addiction and the coal industry, but also bursting with beauty and kindness and resistance. Weedeater is both hilarious—Gipe writes dialogue like nobody else—and heartbreaking. Ultimately, this is a novel about love and forgiveness. If we’re lucky, Dawn Jewell just might rescue all of us.”

Carter Sickels, author of The Evening Hour

“Dawn Jewell is still in the soup and not a one of us will ever outrun Canard County. For that I am grateful. Listen to this book. It sings the truth of a place where everything bends, where the stories of the people explode like giant dandelions. This book is alive. Nobody writes like Robert Gipe.”

Glenn Taylor, author of A Hanging at Cinder Bottom

Praise for Trampoline:
“I fear this book. I’m in love with this book. I’m laughing out loud at this book. I am knocked to my knees in grief by this book. Trampoline is one of the most powerful works of contemporary fiction I’ve read in years.”

Ann Pancake, author of Strange as this Weather Has Been and Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley

Praise for Trampoline:
“[A Confederacy of Dunces] may have been the last time a university press introduced a major American voice—the last time, that is, until now…. Trampoline is a new American masterpiece.”

Chapter16.org

Praise for Trampoline:
“Trampoline is that rare kind of book, a first novel that feels like a fourth or fifth.… It is a roaring tale that knows when to tamp its own fire—which is another way of saying that it is funny as hell but will hurt you too.”

Electric Literature

Praise for Trampoline:
“Gipe’s powerful sense of place will seep into teen readers’ lives. This is a killer debut of one teenager’s flight from destruction—strong stuff tempered with humor and love.”

School Library Journal