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The Last Ballad: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 3, 2017
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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“A powerful book that speaks to contemporary concerns through historical injustice… Cash vividly blends the archival with the imaginative… With care and steadiness, (Cash) has pulled from the wreckage of the past a lost moment of Southern progressivism. Perhaps fiction can help us bear the burden of Southern history.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world. Fraught with the turmoil of social change, The Last Ballad moves inexorably toward a devastating moment of reckoning. A timely and topical portrait of a community in crisis.” (Christina Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World and Orphan Train)
“Cash pulls no punches in this gorgeous, gut-wrenching novel, and that’s entirely as it should be for a story of desperate people. In an era when American workers are besieged as they haven’t been since the Great Depression, I can think of no more relevant novel for our times.” (Ben Fountain, Author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk on The Last Ballad)
“Inspired by the events of an actual textile-mill strike in 1929, Cash creates a vivid picture of one woman’s desperation. . . . A heartbreaking and beautifully written look at the real people involved in the labor movement.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Told with grace and compassion, The Last Ballad is an enthralling narrative and a powerful reminder of the immense sacrifices made for workers in the United States.” (Shelf Awareness)
“Elegantly and movingly woven ... The Last Ballad is simultaneously the evocation of an exemplary individual and the portrait of an era.” (The Guardian (UK))
“It’s impossible not to hear echoes of Steinbeck in Cash’s sprawling, multi-voiced account of a battered, hopeless woman who rises up to become the symbol of a movement… Ella May Wiggins, it seems, sings not only of the forgotten past, but for our time too.” (Chapter 16)
“Beautifully and courageously told. Wiley Cash dares give voice to people lost in the margins of history, and he brings to life their inspiring fight for justice with graceful prose, honesty and intensity, and best of all, a wonderful bigness of heart.” (Lydia Peelle, author of The Midnight Cool on The Last Ballad)
“This suspenseful, moving novel is a story of struggle and personal sacrifice for the greater good that will resonate with readers of John Steinbeck or Ron Rash.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Beautifully and evocatively written, The Last Ballad should take a place on the honor roll of Southern fiction that will stand the test of time… Cash deftly builds the suspense and tension about what will happen, and why and when… One powerful and haunting story.” (Greensboro News & Record)
About the Author
Wiley Cash is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. A native of North Carolina, he has held residency positions at Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife live in Wilmington, North Carolina.
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Top customer reviews
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I was literally placed on the scene of working at the factory, loading the spindles; keeping up with a frantic pace; tired to the bone; hungry; cold and simply looking to get food for my children. Class divisions; racial divisions the end of the Civil War; the Great Depression…the times were hard; yet I found myself saying to myself a well-worn phrase, "the more things change, the more they stay the same".
This is a page turner for sure. The author builds each character, chapter by chapter; then weaves them back into the story as needed throughout the narrative. At times it can be difficult to recall an individual; I found myself wishing I had kept notes, sometimes, because the story does jump around a bit. It’s a style that proves useful in the telling of this snapshot in history.
The central character of this story is a heroine. Thank you, Wiley Cash, for writing about this.
That's how this book was for me. A poor, tasteless, substitution for what could have been a rich, colorful story.
I typically prefer Southern literature above all other genres. I even had the pleasure of meeting this author the other day. I'm just so thankful I had already purchased this Kindle book for $1.99. Because I probably would have cried my eyes out had I paid $26.95.
Poor Ella May. Poor children. Poor Yankees, millworkers, law dogs, displaced mountain people, and all small minded individuals. There was a whole lot to root for in this book, but it's all heartbreaking. Her story needed to be told, but I just feel like we learned about her in jumps and starts and it was hard to remember who was who as we read different perspectives from chapter to chapter. I still don't know what to think, but I'm apt to believe all the same problems still exist.
Cash told the story through the eyes of many strong, engaging characters on all sides of the fight. Several tore at my heart. A profound and powerful tale of the battle against oppression.