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Strange as This Weather Has Been: A Novel [Paperback]

Our Price $ 14.41  
Retail Value $ 16.95  
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Item Number 395092  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   360
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 28, 2007
Publisher   Counterpoint Press
ISBN  159376166X  
EAN  9781593761660  

Availability  32 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 12:47.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
Orders shipping to an address other than a confirmed Credit Card / Paypal Billing address may incur and additional processing delay.

Item Description...
Domestic conflicts involving a town's endangerment by mining plans threaten to tear apart a family when matriarch Lace contemplates fighting the mine owners and her daughter, Bant, becomes involved with a miner. A first novel. Original.

Publishers Description
Set in present day West Virginia, Ann Pancake's debut novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been, tells the story of a coal mining family—a couple and their four children—living through the latest mining boom and dealing with the mountaintop removal and strip mining that is ruining what is left of their mountain life. As the mine turns the mountains to slag and wastewater, workers struggle with layoffs and children find adventure in the blasted moonscape craters.

Strange As This Weather Has Been follows several members of the family, with a particular focus on fifteen-year-old Bant and her mother, Lace. Working at a “scab” motel, Bant becomes involved with a young miner while her mother contemplates joining the fight against the mining companies. As domestic conflicts escalate at home, the children are pushed more and more outside among junk from the floods and felled trees in the hollows—the only nature they have ever known. But Bant has other memories and is as curious and strong-willed as her mother, and ultimately comes to discover the very real threat of destruction that looms as much in the landscape as it does at home.

Buy Strange as This Weather Has Been: A Novel by Ann Pancake from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781593761660 & 159376166X

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More About Ann Pancake

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ann Pancake is a native of West Virginia. Her first novel was based on interviews with West Virginians living in the shadow of mountaintop removal mining. "Strange As this Weather Has Been" was on "Kirkus"'s Top Ten Fiction List, won the 2007 Weatherford Award, and was a finalist for the 2008 "Orion" Book Award. She has also received an NEA grant, the Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Bakeless Award for her first collection of stories, "Given Ground."

Ann Pancake has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bakeless Prize

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [78538  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary   [246863  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
enuf already  Oct 3, 2008
Beautiful prose but the plot is very slow and if I hear about the flood from one more perspective I am going to scream. I will finish this book. I will finish this book.
Where the setting becomes character and blatantly so.  Sep 29, 2008
Richard Russo wrote in his essay, Location, Location, Location: Depicting Character Through Place, "Intellectually, of course, I already knew that place was character. I agree with this statement, and I find that in Ann Pancake's novel, Strange as this Weather has Been, Russo's statement rings true. In fact, place is probably the single most bonding character in this novel. All of the characters feel the mountains they live on, one way or another. Additionally, many characters in the novel grow closer to the mountain as the novel unfolds. In this book Ann Pancake creates a living being out of rock and ties this rock to the heart of her characters, but for me, the mountain is too overbearing of a character.
Even in the first chapter, which is an engaging introduction to Lace and to Jimmy Make, and probably one of the least "mountain oriented" chapters of the novel, the reader can sense the mountains in the items Lace misses while at college: "The rich wild fur smell of squirrels in my daddy's canvas jacket pockets. The rough burlap sack for picking up hickory nuts. Searching for the prettiest of the pretty leaves for Mom to help me iron between wax paper." (4) This is Lace, first feeling the ties to her home in the mountains, the same ties her mother and father and many locals have.
As the story unfolds, we learn that the tops of the mountains are being blown off and excavated for coal. In the second chapter, in which Bant and her father are driving around the top of Yellowroot Mountain, Bant describes the sight with blatant personification:
...and then it dawned on me exactly what I was standing under--Yellowroot Mountain, dead. I knew from Lace and Uncle Mogey that after they blasted the top off the mountain to get the coal, they had no place to put the mountain's body except dump it in the head of the hollow. So there it loomed. Pure mountain guts. ...Yellowroot Mountain blasted into bits, turned inside out. (20)
With these statements by a young woman, the reader is keyed to the idea that this story is really tied to place. The locals feel their mountains like a wife feels the absence of her deceased husband. Everything going on with the mountain is personal and humanized to a certain extent. The coal companies are the bad guys killing the mountain, and wreaking havoc on the local's property with unsafe removal methods.
It's the personification of the mountain that draws me away from the story. I have nothing against mountains, but it is tough for me to be pulled in and care about the mountain itself, without a proper grounding with the characters who live on it. In the first chapter, and for that matter, most of Lace's chapter's, I'm really engaged. That is because people are more the subject matter than the mountains. But I felt, at the start of the book, the mountains take center stage, but I've yet to learn enough about the people to care for their plight. Of course I want to root for the locals, but I felt pushed into it by the passion and personification of the mountain, which only got worse because I felt smacked in the face with how great the mountains were, over and over: "I got down on the dead, damp leaves." (92) "..dropped them [the plants] into the buckets by their hair." (92) "...and as I climbed up Cherryboy that April morning, for the first time since December I felt my spirit stand up inside of me and push." (93) "What makes us feel for our hills like we do?" (99) These were only a few of the moments I felt distanced from the novel by a "love the mountain" agenda.
I believe in place as character. I have seen it work. This summer I read House of the Dead, a fictionalized memoir of Dostoyevsky's time in a Siberian prison camp. This novel relied heavily on the understanding of bleak conditions, and the suffering of people in them, and I felt it was achieved successfully. In Pancake's novel, though, I was disenchanted with the idea of the people's mountains because I felt bogged down by the sentimentalization of nature and the constant nostalgia. "To the coal company, trees were nothing but in the way, they just bulldozed them over the side, and there they dangled, their roots spooky, hairy and dirt clodded." (159) The place certainly became character in this novel, but the setting takes over Pancake's novel and left a bad taste in my mouth.
wonderful and unforgettable  Jul 24, 2008
This is a beautifully written book that is at times poetic. It is powerful and moving.--Rene
A story of the true cost of coal  Jul 21, 2008
This novel relays in story form lives lived in the hollars below a form of coal "mining" called by many Mountain Top Removal. What is happening in these communities is real. The cost on lives, land, and streams is high. Pancake's Strange as This Weather Has Been: A Novel helps bring this home for all of us.
Strange as the weather has been  Jun 27, 2008

The novel tells a true story of destruction of ourland and community to turn it into money. The author captures the pathos of the people involved while accurately depicting the appalachian culture.

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