Follow Me to Ground

Sue Rainsford. Scribner, $25 (208p) ISBN 978-1-9821-3363-4
Brimming with dark folklore and underworld energy, Rainsford’s stellar debut features a memorable heroine chafing against her monstrous isolation. Ada and her father are vegetal creatures born of the Ground, a special patch of hungry earth that “gorge[s] on bodies” and shapes “them to its own liking.” They are strange, slowly aging beings who live apart from the human population, or “Cures,” but are tolerated for their extraordinary healing capacity. Ada and her father can open up bodies and sing away sickness; the most serious cases are put into the Ground to heal, though the results are unpredictable. Rainsford excels in describing the grotesque beauty of this alternative medicine in which the humming healers feel their “way to the pitch of [the patient’s] hurt.” The novel alternates between short sections in which various Cures describe their impressions of Ada, the lonely young creature with an “unseeded” heart, and Ada’s own narration of her rapturous affair with a young man named Samson. Ada tries to hide the romance from her disapproving father, who sees Samson’s longing for Ada, as well as his intense relationship with his pregnant sister, Olivia, as indicative of a diseased nature—too poisonous even for the Ground to cleanse. This is a subtle, unsettling novel in which desire is an ineradicable sickness that can be preferable to health. Agent: Amelia Atlas, ICM Partners. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 09/26/2019
Release date: 01/21/2020
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0484-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0486-7
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