50 States of Literature: Meandering Through West Virginia

50 States of Literature: Meandering Through West Virginia | Columbia Spectator

From the hills of West Virginia comes Ann Pancake’s debut Strange as This Weather Has Been, based on real events and interviews from an Appalachian mining town. Lace See and Jimmy Make fall in love in the era of the Buffalo Creek Disaster. Twenty years later, their family is cut up in a flurry of strip-mining and clear-cutting, with black floods a constant menace and the economy collapsing in on itself. As the parents argue over leaving, their daughter Bant explores her sexuality and allegiances while her three brothers struggle to understand what is happening around them. Weather weaves a stream-of-conscious narrative that never feels one-dimensional—the characters, from passionate Lace to gentle, sensitive Dane, are genuine and endearingly flawed. With her book, Pancake pens a love poem to West Virginia, and also a lament for its ravaged hills. . . .

I think I’ve missed a couple of installments in this ongoing series. I’ll try to find the missing ones soon.