"Mr. Reece weaves well. With simplicity, honesty, and an almost biblical reliance on the repeated image, he balances emotion with desperate event. The result is powerful and often beautiful."
Byron Herbert Reece situates the story in the isolated hills of the agrarian South where he spent most of his life, but it could have occurred in any rural setting at any time. An unmarried girl dies in childbirth. Her brother, swearing revenge on the father of the child, sells the family farm and turns toward the open world with his nephew. In search of a wife and a different livelihood, he chances to encounter his enemy. An intentional act of brutality symbolizes an end to his passion and summons him again away from all that he cherishes.
Born at the foot of Blood Mountain in north Georgia and reared in the isolated mountain area near Blairsville, Byron Herbert Reece (1917-1958) was the author of four volumes of poetry and two novels that are tied deeply to the spirit and traditions of Appalachia. Journalist Bill Shipp has called Reece "perhaps the greatest balladeer of the Appalachians." His first volume of poems was published in 1945 to wide critical acclaim, and the publication of his remaining work brought him recognition far beyond north Georgia.
Read more about Byron Herbert Reece at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
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