“James Kibler understands that traditional stories endure because they are always new; they furnish the joys both of discovery and of rediscovery.”
—Fred Chappell, North Carolina poet laureate
Acutely aware of lifetimes of missed opportunities and mistakes, the characters in James Everett Kibler’s new novel unconsciously hold on to a persistent hope. Walking Toward Home presents snapshots of small-town people as they continue to care for the living while mourning the dead in ways that are not uniquely Southern, but universal in purpose. The magnetism of the local country store attracts a diverse group of neighbors who tell stories and impart wisdom that was earned the hard way.
Walking Toward Home is set on the banks of the Tyger River in South Carolina, an area the author himself calls home. The trials and triumphs of Chauncey Doolittle and his friends and family are intimately shared among the members of their close community. Chauncey engages in a symbiotic relationship with both the land and the people of his home. He and his neighbors—cousin Kildee, who owns the local country store; Triggerfoot Tinsley, an independent cuss who gets into hilarious scrapes; and the two widow cousins who fish all day—are Southern eccentrics with a flair for the philosophical.
Kibler’s humor and poignancy are enhanced by the novel’s lyrical language, which evokes the rhythm and music of Southern speech. The characters’ stories of faith and mystery become a celebration of the world that has knocked them down but not completely out.
About the Author
James Everett Kibler is a professor of English at the University of Georgia in Athens. A longtime Southern literary scholar, he has written and edited a dozen volumes and many essays on subjects including botany, agriculture, Southern art, gardens, folklore, architecture, and literary figures. Kibler’s first book for Pelican, Child to the Waters, was hailed by George Garrett as “destined to please and, by example, to teach us to celebrate and revel not only in these tales, but also in our own stories as well. Kibler is the author of Our Fathers’ Fields: A Southern Story, which won the Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction in 1999.
WALKING TOWARD HOME
James Everett Kibler
FICTION / Literary
228 pp. 5 1/8 x 7 1/2
ISBN: 9781589802261 hc