"Like Bastard Out of Carolina, ffitch's electrifying debut novel is a paean to independence and a protest against the materialism of our age." O: The Oprah Magazine
"Delightfully raucous." Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
Helen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and her boyfriend’s ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, he calls it quits. Helped by Rudyher government-questioning, wisdom-spouting, seasonal-affective-disordered bossand a neighbor couple, Helen makes it to spring. Those neighbors, Karen and Lily, are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a boy, which means their time at the Women’s Land Trust must end.
So Helen invites the new family to throw in with herthey’ll split the work and the food, build a house, and make a life that sustains them, if barely, for years. Then young Perley decides he wants to go to school. And Rudy sets up a fruit-tree nursery on the pipeline easement edging their land. The outside world is brought clamoring into their makeshift family.
Set in a region known for its independent spirit, Stay and Fight shakes up what it means to be a family, to live well, to make peace with nature and make deals with the system. It is a protest novel that challenges our notions of effective action. It is a family novel that refuses to limit the term. And it is a marvel of storytelling that both breaks with tradition and celebrates it. Best of all, it is full of flawed, cantankerous, flesh-and-blood characters who remind us that conflict isn't the end of love, but the real beginning.
Absorbingly spun, perfectly voiced, and disruptively political, Madeline ffitch's Stay and Fight forces us to reimagine an Appalachiaand an Americawe think we know. And it takes us, laughing and fighting, into a new understanding of what it means to love and to be free.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Madeline ffitch cofounded the punk theater company Missoula Oblongata and is part of the direct-action collective Appalachia Resist! Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, Granta, VICE, and Electric Literature, among other publications. She is the author of the story collection Valparaiso, Round the Horn.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I requested and read this book on NetGalley on the recommendation of a good friend who really knows books, and she did not let me down. I’m still mulling this one over. It was an introspective, deep novel about family, independence, identity, and love. There are four main characters: Helen, who moved to Appalachia with her boyfriend (he left; she stayed); Lily and Karen, domestic partners who live simply, Lily a mother type and Karen a provider type; and Perley, Lily and Karen’s son. There’s also Rudy, their crude but loyal friend and Helen’s employer, but he doesn’t ever narrate as the others do. After Helen’s boyfriend decides to leave, she continues to live on the land they paid for together in Helen’s name. After her first winter in complete isolation, learning to live off the land (literally), she invites Lily and Karen to join her on her land and build a home together. Over the years, they become a (very dysfunctional) family. Then a lonely Perley decides he wants to go to school, and it brings the outside world in — and not really in a good way. One of the best parts of this novel was Perley’s point of view. His chapters were fascinating and beautiful. They’re written the way children seem to think, in run-on sentences that flip-flop between both childish and adult-like thoughts and emotions. He is so innocent, so heartbreaking, so wise. I could have read the entire novel through his eyes and been perfectly happy to do so. Alas, Perley probably has the fewest chapters of all of them. But the way we meander through POV lenses, we get to really understand that the way these characters perceive themselves is rarely, or never exactly, how the other characters perceive them. Which is pretty profound in its effect. There’s something deeply American in this book, and something that gets to the heart of agency and independence. Something that resonates really deeply, although I’m still trying to pinpoint what, exactly, that something is. If you read it and figure it out, let me know.
Wow. This was a bit of a slow start for me but it became totally engrossing and I was hooked. Loved everything about this book. The setting, the characters, the writing, everything. This book is not a feel good tale but one of those so bleak it hurts books. Perley was amazing. Rudy was fantastic. This was my first time reading Madeline Ffitch but it will not be the last. Honestly I would like to see this adapted for tv.
Stay and Fight is such a remarkable novel. It is filled with very strong characters that I got to know quite intimately because the story is told from alternating points of view of the different characters. It is a story about emotional and physical survival; about family and love; about staying and fighting for who and what you believe in. This is a story worth reading. I highly recommend it. Advance reader copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.