Crapalachia: A Biography of a Place
*One of the Best Books of 2013 --The Millions, Flavorwire, Dazed & Confused, The L Magazine, Time Out Chicago
"McClanahan's prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. [McClanahan] aims to lasso the moon... He is not a writer of half-measures. The man has purpose. This is his symphony, every note designed to resonate, to linger." --New York Times Book Review
Crapalachia is a portrait of Scott McClanahan's formative years, coming of age in rural West Virginia, during a stretch of time where he was deeply influenced by his Grandma Ruby and Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy.
Peopled by colorful characters and their quirky stories, Crapalachia interweaves oral folklore and area history, providing an ambitious and powerful snapshot of overlooked Americana.
Beyond the artistry, there is an optimism, a genuine love for people and the past and memories. Even more, there is a grasp to bridge the disconnect between reader and writer, for McClanahan's stories to bind us closer to one another.
"Crapalachia is the genuine article: intelligent, atmospheric, raucously funny and utterly wrenching. McClanahan joins Daniel Woodrell and Tom Franklin as a master chronicler of backwoods rural America." --The Washington Post
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About the Author
Scott McClanahan is the author of Crapalachia, The Incantations of Daniel Johnston (illustrated by the iconic artist Ricardo Cavolo), Hill William, The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan: Volume 1, Stories II, and Stories V!. His fiction has appeared in Bomb, Vice, and New York Tyrant.
"The Poet Laureate of Real America."
"McClanahan's prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. [McClanahan] aims to lasso the moon... He is not a writer of half-measures. The man has purpose. This is his symphony, every note designed to resonate, to linger."
--New York Times Book Review
"Crapalachia is the genuine article: intelligent, atmospheric, raucously funny and utterly wrenching. McClanahan joins Daniel Woodrell and Tom Franklin as a master chronicler of backwoods rural America."
--The Washington Post
"Scott McClanahan is one of those rare writers who achieves Kafka's credo that a book should be the axe that shatters the icy soul of our interior. Crapalachia, with its tongue-in-cheek title, is anything but refuse and detritus. In fact, it's a broken and half-sung ode to place and people and history, a personal reclamation of falsehoods cast on rural communities in West Virginia."
--Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, in "The 10 Books I Needed to Write My Novel" (Literary Hub)
View the awesome HORN! REVIEWS review in short graphic novel/comic form.
"McClanahan's deep loyalty to his place and his people gives his story wings: 'So now I put the dirt from my home in my pockets and I travel. I am making the world my mountain.' And so he is."
"[Crapalachia is] a wild and inventive book, unquestionably fresh of spirit, and totally unafraid to break formalisms to tell it like it was."
"Epic. McClanahan's prose is straightforward, casual, and enjoyable to read, reminiscent at times of Kurt Vonnegut. Crapalachia is one of the rare books that, after you reach the end, you don't get up to check your e-mail or Facebook or watch TV."
--Rain Taxi Review of Books
"Part memoir, part hillbilly history, part dream, McClanahan embraces humanity with all its grit, writing tenderly of criminals and outcasts, family and the blood ties that bind us."
"A brilliant, unnerving, beautiful curse of a book that will both haunt and charmingly engage readers for years and years and years."
--The Nervous Breakdown
"McClanahan's style is as seductive as a circuit preacher's. Crapalachia is both an homage and a eulogy for a place where, through the sorcery of McClanahan's storytelling, we can all pull up a chair and find ourselves at home."
--San Diego City Beat
"McClanahan's is a joyful philosophy, communicated via his own distinctive melange of poetic storytelling and direct address, and never less than an enthralling read. [Crapalachia is an] elegiac call to savor life now, today."
"No other book this sad will make you laugh this hard."
"Scott McClanahan's Crapalachia resurrects words. It's an apple that tastes good. But not just good. Necessary."
--Center for Fiction
"[Crapalachia is] McClanahan's best and most affecting work to date. McClanahan is that rare writers'-writer, an artist whose work you'd just as easily recommend to a teenage kid as to a distinguished professor."
--The Coffin Factory
"It is the defiance in the writing that is breathtaking, the very aliveness of this voice in the face of all those dead: the thousands and thousands of dead miners, the dead of the Hawk's Nest Tunnel, the dead of the Sago Mine Disaster, the dead of the Buffalo Creek Flood, the dead of hunger, the dead of a death by their own hands."
"A heartfelt narrative [and] homage to everyday things that are somehow extraordinary. A wonderful eulogy to a time and a place."
"Crapalachia is an open-hearted, poetic existential exploration disguised as a southern-fried memoir. McClanahan has staked out new literary territory and firmly planted the Crapalachian flag there. Long may it wave."
"This punchy, inimitable book is one of the best memoirs I can remember reading, a prescient and preposterous ode to Americana's charms and failures with enough greasiness to stick to your bones like homemade gravy."
--The Lit Pub
"[Crapalachia is] a remarkable and rambling personal history, a loving, laughing, eye-rolling and affectionate portrait of a region, [McClanahan's] home, the place he's from and therefore who he is."
--The L Magazine
"McClanahan's frenetic account of life growing up in rural West Virginia practically seethes with place, with empathy, with humor and violence and the boringness/incredibleness of being young."
"In this innovative 'biography, ' McClanahan... chronicles the peculiarities of Appalachian life--punctuated by mine collapses, quotidian tragedies, and recipes for chicken and gravy--and is infused with both boundless love and the ever-present specter of death... His singular mission is to create a lasting testament to the people he has loved and he succeeds: [Crapalachia] leaves an enduring impression."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Though the book doesn't come out until the middle of next month, I can't wait until then to say how much I liked Scott McClanahan's Crapalachia. [McClanahan's] voice is wholly unaffected, and his account manages to be both comic and unpretentiously sentimental."
--The Paris Review 'Daily'
"McClanahan through words attempts to transform memory into a record of family and friends, to somehow make them permanently a part of his life--and all our lives... stark, beautiful writing."
"Scott McClanahan is one of those rare writers who achieves Kafka's credo that a book should be the axe that shatters the icy soul of our interior. Crapalachia, with its tongue-in-cheek title, is anything but refuse and detritus. In fact, it's a broken and half-sung ode to place and people and history, a personal reclamation of falsehoods cast on rural communities in West Virginia. It shows that just because the place you live in has been written about by others ad infinitum, does not mean it was written with you or your folks in mind... But what's most indelible about this book is its commitment to wonder and awe. It looks at a region that is deemed blighted beyond repair by outsiders and insists that the sublime, under the writer's honest and unflinching gaze, is made as true and palpable within the text as it is for those who live, dance, and die there."
--Ocean Vuong, LitHub