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Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley

Novellas and Stories

List Price: $15.95

February 9, 2016 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 256 Pages | ISBN 9781619024649
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"…gritty, stylish assembly…well-crafted collection." —Publishers Weekly

Ann Pancake’s 2007 novel Strange As This Weather Has Been exposed the devastating fallout of mountaintop removal mining on a single West Virginia family. In Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, a follow-up collection of eleven astonishing novellas and short stories, Pancake again features characters who are intensely connected to their land—sometimes through love, sometimes through hate—and who experience brokenness and loss, redemption and revelation, often through their relationships to places under siege. Retired strip miners find themselves victimized by the industry that supported them; a family breaks down along generation lines over a fracking lease; children transcend addict parents and adult suicide; an urban woman must confront her skepticism about worlds behind this one when she finds bones through a mysterious force she can’t name. Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley explores poverty, class, environmental breakdown and social collapse while also affirming the world’s sacredness.
Ann Pancake’s ear for the Appalachian dialect is both pitch-perfect and respectful, that of one who writes from the heart of this world. Her firsthand knowledge of her rural place and her exquisite depictions of the intricacies of families may remind one of Alice Munro. Her intimate depiction of the natural history of West Virginia brings to mind Wendell Berry’s Kentucky and Rick Bass’s Montana.

ANN PANCAKE is a native of West Virginia. Her first novel was based on interviews with West Virginians living in the shadow of mountaintop removal mining. Strange As this Weather Has Been was on Kirkus’s Top Ten Fiction List, won the 2007 Weatherford Award, and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award. She has also received an NEA grant, the Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Bakeless Award for her first collection of stories, Given Ground.


“Pancake’s bravura tales carry the pulse of a betrayed yet beautiful place of loyalty and resilience.” —Booklist

“Many of these stories by novelist Pancake (Strange as This Weather Has Been, 2007, etc.) are told from the perspectives of children and adolescents, the better to capture the eeriness of the Appalachian landscape and the folkways of the grown-ups who occupy it.…her ear for dialect is well-tuned, and the collection has its comic touches.…smartly styled…” —Kirkus

“…gritty, stylish assembly…well-crafted collection.” —Publishers Weekly

“These are astonishing stories–tender, alive, full of heart and empathy but never sentimental, full of clenched drama and secrets and surprises but always subtle, full of knotty, poetic language, but also remarkably naturalistic. In her unflinching and lovingly accurate attention to the lives of the working poor, people who have fallen entirely beneath the radar of our literary notice, she occasionally calls to mind the haunting photographs of Walker Evans, but I don’t think there’s anyone else like Ann in American letters. She is a true original, and I urge with all my heart to read these gorgeous stories. Ann Pancake is one of the best we have.” —Dan Chaon, author of Stay Awake and Await Your Reply

“In Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, Ann Pancake writes her way deep into the marrow of one of America’s wildest and most brutally wounded landscapes, and into the secret lives of its inhabitants, young and old. Her characters’ dreams and misfortunes range from comic misadventure to haunting spiritual quest, and their voices, alive with hope and sorrow, restore lush color and rhythm to our lives. Like a water-dowser in thirsty times, Ann Pancake holds the divining-rod of language in her gifted hands, and reveals a mysterious world we can’t afford to lose.” —Marjorie Sandor, author of Portrait of My Mother

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