Appalachian Patterns: Stories

Ball Bo, Author, Bo Ball, Author, Stanley Beitler, Editor Independence Publishers $14.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-945740-00-1
In 11 stories set in post-Depression West Virginia, the ways of mountain people are illuminated with the understanding of a native. Bo (Bonaparte Washington) Ball, raised in the hostile ecology of the Appalachians, depicts straitened lives that are enriched by family ties, the cycles of the seasons and the surety of fundamentalist faith. Perhaps the most moving story is ``Wish Book,'' the book being a Sears Roebuck catalogue in which a young boy and his neighbor, a starving teenage wife, immerse themselves in a fantasy of paper gift-giving. ``The Garden'' is a lovely mosaic of Appalachian seasonal rhythms by which a woman plants generously and shares with her neighbors, while ``they told her about the Hoover times that never came to Tildy's garden.'' The companionship of mountain women who travel from house to house sewing their patches into a friendship quilt dominates their busy work (``The Quilt''), as they gossip about a colorful character (also featured in another story, ``Rubygay's Radio'') who is amusingly and unrepentantly pregnant though unmarried. In these bittersweet stories the people of Copperhead, in Buchanan County, come to life with shining dignity. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
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