From the first pages of Amy Greene's astonishing debut novel, Bloodroot (Knopf, Jan.), I knew I was in for a lush and rewarding read. Several generations of Appalachian men and women voice their intermingling experiences of living in this wild region of secrets and ancient folk traditions—how they know and avoid one another, how they hurt or love each other, how the land is the keeper of their soul or the curse of their blood. In this unforgettable community that lives in the shadow of Bloodroot Mountain, destinies are played out in the most brutal and poetic ways. I was especially taken by Myra's story, how she raises her two children in a total isolation of her own choice, and that of her children, who, when they grow up, try to shape their own fate far from the debris of madness and violence. What they make of their legacy is a wholly original achievement in imagination. Greene's stirring work needs to be in everyone's hands.