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Look Back All the Green Valley : A Novel

Look Back All the Green Valley : A Novel

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Look Back All the Green Valley
Author(s): Fred Chappell

A Southeast Booksellers Association Best Book of the Year

Jess Kirkman returns to the North Carolina mountain town of his boyhood to tend to his ailing mother, and clean out his deceased father's workroom. What he discovers there leads him—and the reader—on an unforgettable journey through the secret life of Jess's father, Joe Robert, which culminates in a moment of profound mystery and comedy.


“Fred Chappell's narrative voice is a wonder and a joy--a combination of elegant erudition, lyric brilliance, and the idiom of Appalachia . . . Both a celebration of the southern Appalachian Mountains and a way of life and a lamentation for its loss . . . A master storyteller . . . ranging from tall tales that provide out-loud laughter to poetic, lyric passages that produce a lump in the throat.” —The Miami Herald

“What a glorious time Fred Chappell must have had writing this fourth volume of his tetralogy . . . for it sparkles and amuses and rocks along in such an easy, happy voice . . . No one does a more impressive look back than Fred Chappell, our poet laureate.” —Winston-Salem Journal

“A novel cycle destined to be cherished not just as a Southern, but as an American classic.” —Orlando Sentinel

“Fans of Southern fiction should not miss this beautifully written novel.” —Chicago Tribune

“A book sparkling with life and charm . . . A celebration of life's great moments.” —Christian Science Monitor

“Delightful . . . We don't want to miss a single funny phrase, a charming old word, or a sudden twist of the tale, involving people we wish we knew.” —Arkansas Democrat Gazette

“Fred Chappell crafts the kind of novels other writers greet with envy. A natural storyteller who hails from Appalachia, he weaves together tall tales, dreams and visions, and page upon page of pitch-perfect dialogue into a style that's like the white-lightnin'' cousin of magical realism.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“There's something fearless about the fervid quality of this book that's strangely beguiling. You can enter the Kirkman family quartet at any given point, but perhaps it is Jess Kirkman's advanced age that has given this final installment a bittersweet tone lacking--because unnecessary--in the others. It makes Look Back All the Green Valley stick in your memory not like a fantastic tall tale, but like an urgent message from the author: Don't forget me.” —The News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.)

“Chappell . . . narrates with his trademark voice, one both poetic and inclusive of the idioms of the Appalachain Mountain region . . . Intelligent and rewarding.” —Publishers Weekly

“Chappell's irrepressible humor and homespun wisdom depict a long-gone way of southern Appalachian life. A loving look back to a long-ago time and place.” —Library Journal

“Chappell draws upon the rich oral traditions, myths, and legends of southern Appalachia to take his readers deep into the heart of a world and time long past, with all its magic, mystery and wonder.” —Bookwatch

“Delightful . . . A work of matchless ingenuity and eloquence--heartwarmingly funny.” —Kirkus Reviews

Winner SIBA Book Award - Winner (2000)

ISBN:  9780312243104