Southernmost, by Silas House

I've been look­ing for­ward to a new Silas House nov­el for years now. I've fol­lowed his career since I pub­lished his work in Night Train, and was extreme­ly proud to have his blurb for my col­lec­tion Most­ly Red­neck. His nov­els reveal the best of Appalachia, the pow­er of fam­i­ly, and most of all a rev­er­ence for music and the nat­ur­al world that con­tin­ues to make me feel good when I reread them, which I do every few years. Like Chris Offutt and Chris Hol­brook and Lee Smith and Breece Pan­cake, he writes a world and peo­ple I rec­og­nize in my bones, though the accent's a lit­tle dif­fer­ent where I grew up in the very north­ern tip of Appalachia. Algonquin's pro­mo mate­r­i­al for the new Silas nov­el South­ern­most fol­lows, and I encour­age you all to check it out when it comes out in June.

When a flood wash­es away much of a small com­mu­ni­ty along the Cum­ber­land Riv­er in Ten­nessee, Ash­er Sharp, an evan­gel­i­cal preach­er there, starts to see his life anew. He has already lost a broth­er due to his inabil­i­ty to embrace his brother’s com­ing out of the clos­et. Now, in the after­math of the flood, he tries to offer shel­ter to two gay men, but he’s met with resis­tance by his wife. Furi­ous about her prej­u­dice, Ash­er deliv­ers a ser­mon where he pas­sion­ate­ly defends the right of gay peo­ple to exist with­out condemnation.

In the heat­ed bat­tle that ensues, Ash­er los­es his job, his wife, and cus­tody of his son, Justin. As Ash­er wor­ries over what will become of the boy, whom his wife is deter­mined to con­trol, he decides to kid­nap Justin and take him to Key West, where he sus­pects that his estranged broth­er is now liv­ing. It’s there that Ash­er and Justin see a new way of think­ing and loving.

South­ern­most is a ten­der and heart­break­ing nov­el about love and its con­se­quences, both with­in the South and beyond.


"In Silas House’s mov­ing new nov­el, a pas­tor wres­tles with a cri­sis not just of faith but of all the appar­ent cer­tain­ties of his life: a cri­sis of mar­riage, of com­mu­ni­ty, of father­hood. This is a nov­el of painful, final­ly rev­e­la­to­ry awak­en­ing, of fierce love and nec­es­sary dis­as­ter, of the brav­ery required to escape the prison of our days, to make a bet­ter and more wor­thy life.”—Garth Green­well, author of What Belongs to You

This beau­ti­ful­ly craft­ed nov­el brims with a spir­it of hope­ful human­i­ty as one man’s effort to make him­self a bet­ter per­son casts rip­ples in the world around him."
—Charles Fra­zier, author of Vari­na

South­ern­most engages my most deeply hid­den fears and hopes. Silas House has all the gifts of a pas­sion­ate sto­ry­teller, and to this book he adds the heart­felt con­vic­tions of a man will­ing to voice what we so sel­dom see in print—the ways in which with all good inten­tions we can mess up and go wrong, and only lat­er try to sort out how we can win our own redemp­tion. I love this book, and for it, I love Silas House.”
—Dorothy Alli­son, author of Bas­tard Out of Carolina

A spir­i­tu­al jour­ney, a love sto­ry, and a clas­sic road nov­el … With its themes of accep­tance and equal­i­ty, South­ern­most holds a spe­cial mean­ing for Amer­i­ca right now, with rel­e­vance even beyond its mem­o­rable story.”
—Lee Smith, author of Dime­store

Silas House's char­ac­ters are as real to me as my own fam­i­ly. South­ern­most is a nov­el for our time, a coura­geous and nec­es­sary book."
—Jen­nifer Haigh, author of Heat and Light

South­ern­most is an emo­tion­al tsuna­mi. The clas­sic themes of great lit­er­a­ture writ­ten about fam­i­ly life are upend­ed here in a mod­ern twist as a father and son flee one life in search of anoth­er; as estranged broth­ers sep­a­rat­ed by time and their judge­ment of one anoth­er seek redemp­tion and through the women in their lives, antag­o­nists in the strug­gle who become grace notes on the road to redemp­tion. This is a sto­ry of faith lost and love found, and what we must throw over­board on the jour­ney in order to keep mov­ing. A treasure."
—Adri­ana Tri­giani, author of Kiss Car­lo

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