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Crapalachia: A Biography of Place Paperback – Deckle Edge

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Crapalachia: A Biography of Place + Hill William + The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Two Dollar Radio (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937512037
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937512033
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott McClanahan is the writer of Stories II and Stories V!. His fiction has appeared in Bomb, Vice, and New York Tyrant. His novel Hill William is forthcoming from Tyrant Books.

More About the Author

Scott McClanahan is the author of STORIES, STORIES II (Six Gallery Press), STORIES V! (Holler Presents), THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SCOTT McCLANAHAN VOL. 1 (Lazy Fascist Press) and CRAPALACHIA: A BIOGRAPHY OF A PLACE (Two Dollar Radio). His forthcoming novel, HILL WILLIAM, is coming soon from Tyrant Books.

He lives in West Virginia, where he is co-founder of Holler Presents (, and would love to eat chicken wings with you.

Customer Reviews

The book is extremely well written.
Pete Origanel
If you love Appalachia and its people and know much about them, you'll know how true this book really is.
Jacob S
Good one to pick up and read a chapter or two only if you're pressed for time.
Susan C. Williams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pope Mel on March 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Even though I was only 14 years old, there was no telling when the angel of death might come to get my ass."

This is a book about suicide, dead miners, and children being left to scream and writhe in pain because their parents can't afford doctors.

And yet, I couldn't stop laughing.

"She told us the story about how he was trying to get his pension from the mines. But before he got it, he had to fight for a couple of months. He finally got a letter that went..."Dear Mr. McClanahan, we regret to inform you that we're unable to approve you at this time. Please send your response within seven days and we'll schedule another hearing."
Elgie didn't say anything.
He just took it down to the outhouse and wiped his ass with it. Then he put it back into the envelope, sealed it up, and sent it back."

McClanahan creates wonderful, embellished portraits of family members and friends, at their best and at their worst, doing the things they need to do to endure life.

Here is one tale of young Scott and his Uncle Nathan, who had cerebral palsy:

"The next night was radio preacher night. That only meant one thing. My Uncle Nathan was going to drink beer. He just kept groaning and pointing at the beer and then pointing at his feeding tube. What was the use of drinking beer when you could immediately pour a six-pack in your stomach tube and have it shoot into your bloodstream that much quicker? I poured the beer in and then I poured another. I cracked another and another. Then I did the rest. He smiled and then burped. It smelled like a beer burp."

Though I did not grow up in rural West Virginia, this reminded me so much of my mother's side of the family. They were farmers, beauticians and business people.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Atkinson on March 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
I liked the way that the narrator in this book is as intimately connected to the emotion as possible, yet stands aside and just lets that emotion come across without really suggesting what the reader should feel. It feels very natural and real, moving and powerful without ever appearing to try real hard. In short, damn fine writing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Seidlinger on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Crapalachia is a condensed family history made up of anecdotes, evidence from family albums, gossip, and everything that, put together, takes on new meaning. For, you see, Crapalachia is its own sort of textbook. In each of its tales, it provides examples and lessons via scenarios gone awry.

Someone give Scott a piece of history and he'll cut it down to size. It might not be the right fit for the history books, but he'll find something personal and beautiful. He'll turn anything into a true testament of humanity and survival.

This book is evidence of the fact that McClanahan would live through the treacherously bad times and still manage to bring that big grin around and wide. He'll say "CURE FOR DEPRESSION" and he'll show you what's up. How to do it. How to keep from letting a bummer bring you down.

I don't waste any time trying to discern between which parts of Crapalachia are true or not; set together as a singular entity, family history as Crapalachia, it is all true, and every single word of it must be read.

Fiction. Nonfiction. It doesn't matter. We live through it.

We live through all of it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By theDeacon on May 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was my introduction to Scott McClanahan's work and I bought it for the title alone. Being from mountain descent myself, I knew I was going to identify with any book that had the courage to call itself Crapalachia. My hunch was justified. Not only did I identify, this book hits close to home. There were several characters who could have been members of my own family.

McClanahan uses a stream-of-consciousness narrative to tell stories or mini stories about people he grew up with as a boy in West Virginia. This narrative tool is brilliant in that it wonderfully captures the inner-thinking of a young teen; i.e. inability to stay on one subject, casually tosses out a profundity then changes the subject, mistakes nonsense for profundity and elaborates with more nonsense, etc. The narrator is quite believable and very entertaining.

Within a few pages, I was strongly reminded of Truman Capote's stories about his childhood in New Orleans. Like Capote, McClanahan has the gift of finding humor and fascination amongst people that many of us would dismiss. I do not possess that gift and am humbled by people who do. It would never have occurred to me to write about a 52 year old man who had cerebral palsy, who watches Benny Hinn, and lived with his mother. I would have found such a person pitiful. But, in McClanahan's hands, his Uncle Nathan comes across as a funny devil-may-care personality who might be more aware of what's going on than most.

In writing down these stories of, if I may use the term, forgotten people, McClanahan makes the plea that even though these people may not have been great or noble, they deserve to be remembered.

Don't we all?

Scott McClanahan has every reason to be proud of this book.
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