The talented short story writer Ruth Moose has a nice review of "The Half-Life of Home" up at The Pilot website, the local newspaper down in the charming sandhills of Southern Pines. Thomas Wolfe got off the train here a time or two to mosey over to Weymouth House to write up part of his continuous welter of words. And poet/publisher Sam Ragan ran The Pilot for years, making sure that literature got its proper coverage with the local politics.
I'll be down there myself on Tuesday, June 25 for an afternoon reading at The Country Bookshop.
Here's what Ruth has to say:
Dale Neal, who lives and writes in Asheville, wrote one of my favorite books, “Cow Across America” (Novello Press,Charlotte, comes up full swing again here with his new novel, “The Half Life of Home.”
Royce Wilder has a house full of troubles what with the family acreage where Mama and Uncle Dallas still live, his wife, Eva, the practical one and an epitome of a teen age son, Dean. Smart mouth, full of sass and so real you want to smack the page.
Wilder is the kind of guy who lives next door and somehow manages to step in cow pies even on city sidewalks, with old girl friends like Lucy Green and big money in his face, but when he goes to homecoming at Beverdam Baptist Church, Mama sets him back on the straight and narrow path.
Then there’s the Witch Woman who decorates her cabin door with dried rattlesnake skins — still singing with all their buttons on. And Kyle the homeless waif who knows a secret he can’t ever tell.
We are quickly caught up in their lives and a plot with an accordion fold that’s smooth and creamy as milk-cooked grits.
Neal writes clear, honest prose, a rarity these days, and makes you care about his people, our landscape and where the world is fast going if we don’t keep an eye out.
Trust me, you’ll like this one. And Dale Neal.
Novelist, journalist, aficionado of all things Appalachian.