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“For many people, ‘Allegiance’ is a noun, but in Gurney Norman’s hands, it is a verb—an active verb, an earthshaking process that rearranges the expectations of a homeplace, raises the windows of personal and epic history, and throws open doors of memory and imagination. Allegiance is a remarkable, eye-opening set of stories that affirm and defy time and place. It’s larger than one lifetime, resonating across generations, and inviting readers to reconsider their own allegiances.”
Sandra L. Ballard, Editor, Appalachian Journal
“We seldom find a book that we have hoped for like this one. These bright and humorous, sometimes sad yet always telling stories are both lyrical and dramatic; (Norman’s) sharpness of detail and flexibility of styles and tones remains central in his rich Appalachian world…. A blessing by a veteran author."
Larry Smith, New York Journal of Books
A new collection of stories from celebrated Kentucky author Gurney Norman
“A beautiful book” … “A remarkable, eye-opening set of stories” … “Brilliantly arranged” … “An exhilarating mirroring of consciousness itself” … “Grand and important, funny and heartbreaking” … “An act of grace”
Allegiance is a brilliant and original set of stories by former Kentucky Poet Laureate Gurney Norman. Spanning forty years of work, Allegiance is an autobiography told through stories—a rich personal journey into Norman’s life, place, and consciousness. In classic short stories, lyrical meditations, folktales, dreamscapes, and stream-of-consciousness writing, Norman imaginatively weaves together the threads of his life. Each story builds on what has come before, “prisms enlarging the effect of the whole …” The stories are humorous and heartbreaking, told mainly in the voice of Norman’s fictional narrator, Wilgus Collier. From his working-class childhood in the coalfields of Appalachia to the center of the 1960s counterculture and back again to Kentucky, Norman’s journey has been a life of many movements. This is a jacketed hardcover edition of Allegiance, featuring a foreword by poet Leatha Kendrick, an author’s note, and an original cover painting by Appalachian artist Pam Oldfield Meade. A selection of nonfiction pieces comprises the book’s epilogue.
Published by Old Cove Press
Gurney Norman is a novelist and short story writer whose works include Divine Right’s Trip, Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories, Ancient Creek: A Folktale, and Allegiance. He is a professor of English at the University of Kentucky and a former Kentucky Poet Laureate. A native of eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia, he was the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University. Norman has received many honors for his work and is a widely known Appalachian literary and cultural advocate. He is coeditor of Back Talk from Appalachia: Confronting Stereotypes, and An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature. More info →
Sample Stories: “Allegiance,” “The Photograph,” “Karo,” and “Tommy Cassinelli”Download
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In essays that take wide-ranging forms—ideal for creative nonfiction classes—established and emerging writers with roots in Appalachia take on the theme of silencing in Appalachian culture. They write about families left behind, hard-earned educations, selves transformed, identities chosen, and risks taken.
An American Vein is an anthology of literary criticism of Appalachian novelists, poets, and playwrights. The book reprises critical writing of influential authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Cratis Williams, and Jim Wayne Miller. It introduces new writing by Rodger Cunningham, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and others.
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, living through the last hurrah of the coal industry and battling with opioid abuse. The events it chronicles are frantic, but its voice is filled with humor and grace.
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