In Wayland, Rita Quillen writes of a Depression-era Appalachian community with immense vividness and immense empathy, but like the best novelists, her characters transcend their geographical locale to evoke concerns that touch upon the lives of all people. Whether as poet or as novelist, Quillen is a writer to be revered.
—Ron Rash, author of Serena
“I stare at this white page and try to form the words right to name what I’m feeling to be able to explain myself to myself, as crazy as that sounds,” says a character late in Rita Quillen’s gorgeous new novel, Wayland. In language as poetic as it is fierce, anchored in the Appalachian mountains of the 1930s, Wayland explains a lost world to us, recreating it, revivifying it—crazy as that sounds. This is a beautiful and moving novel and deserves a wide readership.
—Mark Powell, author of Firebird and Small Treasons
In the pages of Wayland, Rita Quillen takes the reader deep into the characters, history, and landscape of her native hills. Quillen is a storyteller of prodigious gifts, one of Appalachian literature’s truly authentic voices.
—Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot
A stranger comes to town—and the world is never the same. Wayland tells the story of an ideal family’s entrapment in thrall that slowly turns to horror because of one man’s wickedness and another man’s blindness. These characters and places are richly drawn, and the tension keeps building until the end. As Quillen writes, “When you are Mars and Venus, you spin on, hurtling through stardust and blackness, suspended by the dark energy that binds everything together.” We are bound here, too, by this dark energy and good story.
—Jim Minick, author of Fire Is Your Water