The Ballad of Cherrystoke and Other Stories

The Ballad of Cherrystoke and Other Stories

by: Melanie McGee Bianchi

A new and thoroughly unsentimental take on changing life and cultural traditions in Southern Appalachia. Read More

Softcover - $18.99
(ISBN: 9781735774749)

A young maid an an upscale resort hides her banjo-playing freighthopper brother.

An unlikely romance bridges a quarter-century age gap and a 150-year-old murder.

A man tries to turn his sheltered mother's backyard shed into a pricey vacation rental.

A gig worker must shake off her darker identity to become a professional baby namer.

An extraordinary debut from one of America's most exciting new talents, The Ballad of Cherrystoke weaves together the quirky and the sublime: an important new voice in Appalachian literature. Each story is something lyrical and unflinching, with characters that remain with you long after you've finished.

"Melanie McGee Bianchi writes with graciousness for the reader: it feels like she's invited you on her porch to tell you these stories because you need to hear them. She also shows graciousness for her characters, allowing them the full spectrum of humanity no matter what space they occupy in the world."--Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat

"Yuri in "Abdiel's Revenge" says: 'If there's a main idea in all those ballads, in all of Appalachia, to my mind, it comes down to this: bones in the river.' The Ballad of Cherrystoke is a collection about Appalachian people (not characters, not stereotypes) with secrets and trust issues, brain injuries, prison records, sh**ty jobs, broken hearts, urges and needs and fears -- but Bianchi is observant and wise, kind but unflinching, an archaeologist; she listens, and excavates, and through rich and luxuriously meandering prose pulls those bones up onto the bank for us to touch, and taste, and feel. This is the best debut collection I've read in years. Melanie McGee Bianchi is sharp, and tender, and brilliant."--Meagan Lucas, author of the award-winning novel Songbirds and Stray Dogs and Editor-in-Chief of Reckon Review

"The narrators in this collection shrug off their wounds to observe and report their fascinating stories. With language as striking and surprising as it is beautiful, Bianchi adds a new and unique voice to Appalachian literature."--Heather Newton, author of McMullen Circle

"Brilliantly weaving together original narratives with elements of the real Appalachian mountains and their people, these stories reveal startling details that create immediate, visceral impressions of complex, haunting characters: their secrets, their fears, and their anguish … Like the mountains they inhabit, these characters are a mercurial parade of stunning beauty and terrible pain."--Elizabeth Baird Hardy, author of Milton, Spenser, and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels

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