Join us at the bookshop for an event with author Marlin Barton celebrating his new novel, Children of Dust, on Thursday, November 4th, at 7PM! Barton is the author of the Hub City Press story collection Pasture Art, published in 2015, and we are so pleased to welcome him to the shop to discuss his newest work.
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"In Marlin Barton’s superb new novel, two men, one black, one white, find common cause in an attempt to understand their shared ancestor, Rafe Anderson, and the mysterious deaths of two of his newborn children, but what makes Children of Dust most memorable is Barton’s refusal to simplify and judge. His characters are never caricatures, and they reveal that the greatest mysteries of all lie within the human heart. Marlin Barton is one of our most underrated writers, and I hope this novel gains him the attention he’s long deserved."—Ron Rash, author of Serena and In the Valley
In 2000, as Seth Anderson researches his family history, he discovers an unexpected story and "contained within it lies a larger story that might speak not just to Southern history but beyond it."
In the late 1800s in rural Alabama, Melinda Anderson struggles to give birth to her tenth child, tended by Annie Mae, a part-Choctaw midwife. When the infant dies, just hours after birth, suspicion falls upon two women—Betsy, Annie Mae’s daughter and the mixed-race mistress of Melinda’s husband, Rafe; and Melinda herself, worn out by perpetual pregnancies and nurturing a dark anger toward her husband. Seeking to clear her own name and tarnish that of her enemy, Melinda enlists the help of a conjure woman who dabbles in dark magic—with tragic consequences.
As Seth's search for his family's truth continues, he must come to terms with their failure in confronting their past and in his own culpability in that failure. Filled with haunts, new and old, Children of Dust is a novel about the relationship between two women allied against a violent man with secrets of his own, and it is also a complex look at race, violence, and the ways in which stories are passed down through generations.
"Children of Dust is a novel that Marlin Barton was born to write; an immersive story that asks the hardest questions and answers them with powerful and propulsive historical fiction. There are times in Southern, and American, history that we cannot ignore and yet we have — Marlin Barton looks the truth straight in the eyes and does not look away, allowing us to do the same. With riveting prose, Barton proves he is a master storyteller. Vivid and intense, Children of Dust will stay with you long after the last powerful word."—Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Surviving Savannah
Marlin Barton lives in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to Children of Dust, he's published two earlier novels and three story collections. Stories of his have been included in Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and he received the Truman Capote Prize for his short fiction. Barton teaches in a program for juvenile offenders called Writing Our Stories, and he also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Converse College.