Friday, August 07, 2020

New debut novel a mystical, moving tale about surviving childhood sexual abuse and poverty in Appalachia

Every Bone a Prayer, a debut novel from Kentucky author Ashley Blooms details a young girl's journey to survive—and understand—sexual abuse and poverty in a tale that's part Southern Gothic and part magical realism.

"In this novel, poverty weaves through community; ownership — of property, of personal space, of land — is intrinsically tied to the bonds and boundaries of family. Layers of things unsaid are wrapped around shame, faith, and the natural world in ways that are often very close and difficult to bear," Fran Wilde writes for NPR. "Novels like Every Bone A Prayer are important specifically because they give a lyrical voice, agency, and a resonating mythos to those fighting to reclaim their names, and selves."

The novel is worth the journey, but packs an emotional punch, Wilde writes: "This book hurts. The detailed author's note in the frontmatter only reinforces the fact that Every Bone a Prayer is a difficult, important, and beautifully rendered story of generational trauma, survival, and healing. The characters I met within its pages have stayed with me, their names and stories etched on my memory."

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