The Rosewood Casket

The Rosewood Casket

A Ballad Novel

Book - 1996
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"The stage is set for family drama when Randall Stargill lies dying on his southern Appalachian farm, and his four sons come home to build him a coffin made from the special cache of rosewood he has saved for this purpose. Meanwhile, mountain wisewoman, Nora Bonesteel, prepares another box--to be buried with him. Among them, a real estate developer is hovering over the family's farm bringing secrets and tensions to the surface. In a style both lyrical and beautifully detailed, with a narrative that flows from Native American lore and the burnished tales of Daniel Boone--up to the sharpest, and keenly realized landscapes of Appalachia today, "The Rosewood Casket" is a novel as hauntingly beautiful as the mountains that gave it charge--and a stunning addition to our collection of McCrumb Ballad novels."--Publisher website.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin, c1996.
ISBN: 9780312388867
Call Number: MCCRUMB
Characteristics: 305 p. ; 21 cm.
Subjects: Farm life -- Fiction.
Women -- Appalachian Region, Southern -- Fiction.
Brothers -- Fiction.
Mountain life -- Fiction.
Appalachian Region, Southern -- Fiction.
Southern writing.
Historical fiction.


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Aug 07, 2013

The Rosewood Casket was recommended to me, for my love of magical realism. And I am very grateful for that recommendation! This novel is set in Appalachian Tennessee, basically a foreign country to me, but McCrumb details both the culture and the landscape in a beautifully poetic way.

At its heart, this is not just a story of the Stargill family, but of the timeless transition of land-tied creatures being forced to move, and indeed, of consequences. It's the story of Daniel Boone, the Cherokee, indigenous species that have been shoved out by invasive species, and the development of farm land into McMansions and planned communities in the 1980's.

But it's also the story of a collection of men and women that McCrumb paints as three-dimensional, realistically flawed, and equally broken. There is no sole protagonist or antagonist, though Clayte is most often the narrative voice- it's truly an ensemble piece. And one that plays with your expectations.

I highly recommend it for fans of magical realism, place-centric fiction, historical-influenced contemporary stories, those who enjoy the Appalachian culture, and adults who can relate to having dysfunctional families.


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