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Holding On To Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne (review)

Holding On To Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne (review) BOOK REVIEWS Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne. Holding On To Nothing. Durham, N.C.: Blair, 2019. 272 pages. Hardcover. $25.95. Reviewed by Karen Salyer McElmurray Years back, I heard a lecture by novelist Charles Baxter called “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary and the Extraordinary Ordinary in Fiction.” Holding On To Nothing’s ordinary world is a small east Tennessee town. I’ve been gone for too many years from my own small hometown in eastern Kentucky, and the pages of Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne’s debut novel take me back there with an ache I recognize. I know the world this book summons inside and out. Its sound of cicadas, “their steady, pulsating drone, punctuated by the maraca shakes of katydids.” Its people, the church ladies with their casserole dishes. !e town has its Walmart and an ammunition plant for jobs. !ere’s also whiskey at Judy’s Bar on a Saturday night, a place where music drifts out into the packed parking lot and loving makes the world fine, but just for a spell. 92 In the background of this ordinary world, one senses strictures about how life ought to be. !ere’s the ought-to for women, for families, for living right. Gossip dies hard about hard-living families, and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Appalachian Review University of North Carolina Press

Holding On To Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne (review)

Appalachian Review , Volume 49 (3) – Sep 10, 2021

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Berea College
ISSN
2692-9244
eISSN
2692-9287

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne. Holding On To Nothing. Durham, N.C.: Blair, 2019. 272 pages. Hardcover. $25.95. Reviewed by Karen Salyer McElmurray Years back, I heard a lecture by novelist Charles Baxter called “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary and the Extraordinary Ordinary in Fiction.” Holding On To Nothing’s ordinary world is a small east Tennessee town. I’ve been gone for too many years from my own small hometown in eastern Kentucky, and the pages of Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne’s debut novel take me back there with an ache I recognize. I know the world this book summons inside and out. Its sound of cicadas, “their steady, pulsating drone, punctuated by the maraca shakes of katydids.” Its people, the church ladies with their casserole dishes. !e town has its Walmart and an ammunition plant for jobs. !ere’s also whiskey at Judy’s Bar on a Saturday night, a place where music drifts out into the packed parking lot and loving makes the world fine, but just for a spell. 92 In the background of this ordinary world, one senses strictures about how life ought to be. !ere’s the ought-to for women, for families, for living right. Gossip dies hard about hard-living families, and

Journal

Appalachian ReviewUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Sep 10, 2021

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