Hollow Ground by Stephen Marion

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When Gary left Zinctown, Tennessee, fourteen years ago, he left behind a father he couldn't please, a long-dead brother whose memory was inescapable, and a girl who was carrying his child. He didn't plan on coming back.

But he did. Now he's facing down his jilted girlfriend, his ailing father, his brother's ghost-and, for the first time, his fourteen year old son, Taft.

In the tradition of Richard Russo, debut novelist Stephen Marion gives us not only the story of a father and son getting to know each other for the first time, but also that of a small town whose mining industry has literally hollowed out the ground beneath their feet. Just as the characters in Hollow Ground struggle to create a life worth preserving but are borne away by the inevitable passage of time and accidents of life, so the mines, once the mainstay of the community, now threaten to destroy the town itself.

Hollow Ground, told with a fine, dry wit, marks the debut of a gifted and original fiction writer.


About Stephen Marion

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Stephen Marion is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. He received the Arthur Lynn Andrews Prize for Fiction while completing his MFA at Cornell University. He works as a reporter and photographer for the Standard Banner in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and lives in Dandridge, Tennessee, with his wife Eugenia.
Published May 15, 2002 by Algonquin Books. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Apr 19 2002 | Read Full Review of Hollow Ground

Kirkus Reviews

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Gary is even less sure what to do, especially after Bid dies of the cancer he’s been hiding from everyone, and after a local legend, Moody Myers, whom Gary relies on to help him find his way back into the community, goes missing.

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Publishers Weekly

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The pacing is a bit uneven, as Marion tends to introduce dramatic events early in the story and does not connect the dots between the characters very clearly, but the combination of high-quality writing and well-drawn characters carries the day, making this a solid first novel.

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Book Reporter

She at first appears to be merely a child with a schoolgirl crush on Taft, but Marion, without rushing or hurrying the proceedings, skillfully presents a picture of a willful and manipulative individual who will do anything to get what she wants.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Hollow Ground

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