Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You

Fred Chappell, Author Picador USA $21 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-14600-9
Graceful as always, Chappell uses a death vigil here to illuminate the variety of life and the rich modalities of the soul. As the matriarch of a strong Appalachian family lies on her deathbed, her young grandson, Jess Kirkman, receives a rich legacy of oral history that will shape his future as a poet and storyteller. Told in a curiously homely yet poetic idiom, Chappell's seventh novel (following Brighten the Corner Where You Are), composed of tenuously joined tales, is a series of distinctly voiced vignettes. These stories reach Jess in a creaky old house where he sits with his father in a room full of broken clocks while his mother sits in the bedroom with her dying mother. As the women deal directly with approaching death, Jess and his father tap into the sagas of other lives. By turns funny, brooding, romantic and heroic, the tales--bearing chapter headings such as ""The Shooting Woman,"" ""The Fisherwoman"" and ""The Feistiest Woman""--cohere into a body of women's wisdom that will enable Jess to be a man. The darkly surreal centerpiece, ""The Wind Woman,"" subtly marks a metaphorical epiphany. In it, Jess recalls (or dreams of) a trip with his mother during which she muses about her long-abandoned maidenly ambition to become a poet; she takes him to visit an empty cabin on a windswept mountaintop, where he is inspired to ""...consort the sounds of the hollers and slopes and valleys below into music."" A genuine patience distinguishes Chappell from the vast herd of writers--especially Southern writers--who mistake languid melancholy for lyricism. He writes with a feel for emotional timing that is as acute as his sense of style. First serial rights to Quarterly West and Five Points; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Show other formats
FORMATS
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-7462-9
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4668-6048-3
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.