A volume in "Twayne's Authors Series" of literary criticism offers a critical introduction to the life and work of a particular writer, to the history and influence of a literary movement, or to the development of a literary genre. Primarily devoted to critical interpretation and discussion of an author's work, the study not only takes account of major literary trends and important contributions in scholarship and criticism but also provides new critical insights and an original point of view. "Authors Series" volumes are rooted in the original works themselves and address readers ranging from advanced high school students to university professors. The book suggests to the informed reader new ways of considering a writer's work. A reader new to the work under examination will, after reading the "Authors Series" study, be compelled to turn to the originals, bringing to the reading a basic knowledge and fresh critical perspectives. A prominent voice in Southern literature, Doris Betts is the author of six novels and three short story collections, including Beasts of the Southern Wild, Soul Raised from the Dead, and The Sharp Teeth of Love. Set primarily in North Carolina, Betts's fiction frequently depicts blue-collar workers and middle-class people who demonstrate perseverance, cheerfulness, and a refusal to be victimized. Her fiction reflects a strong biblical influence, everyday common sense, and durable humor. In this first book-length study of Betts and her work, Elizabeth Evans presents a superb introduction to a writer of increasing renown. Drawing on a long association with Betts, Evans infuses her analysis with rich biographical details and provides expert syntheses of Betts's stories and novels, including uncollected stories and works-in-progress. Maintaining that a lack of or difficulty in achieving communion forms the dominant theme of Betts's fiction, Evans highlights key people and events shaping the writer s work.