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Montani Semper...

Snapshots From An Appalachian Family Album

by Ty Bouldin


Retail Price: $30.95

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Product description...

Montani Semper...Snapshots from an Appalachian Family Album draws on narratives, song-poems and drawings to evoke both the beauty and the tragedy of Appalachia and the betrayal of the region’s natural wealth. The novella relates the troubled family chronicle of Ramona and Woody Mann and the friend they know simply as ‘the Greek’. Woody’s and Ramona’s families have lived for generations in the same rural Appalachian farming and mining community, but their fortunes have declined with ill health and the shifting economics of the region. Only the aspirations of their two surviving children — Christine and Will — hold out any resilient hope for the future as they determine to face the demands of the outside world. However, it is the myth-like stories the Greek tells of Ramona’s and Woody’s third child — a boy stillborn after a fall late in her pregnancy — that suggest the encompassing tragedy in which their lives have moved. Montani Semper is a short but expansive exploration of America's attempt to grapple with the social decline resulting from our arrogant cultural divorce from the natural world.  It provides a view of Appalachia which calls into question the portrait offered for so long by mainstream accounts of the region — from the condescending views of the natives' naïve simplicity offered by early colonial visitors like Timothy Dwight (an early President of Yale University), to the self-serving narratives of life in blighted poverty broadcast by politically-ambitious contemporaries like J.D. Vance.  Conceived as an isolated pocket of inbred Scots-Irish cultural backwardness, Appalachia has always served America as a tragicomic host of Otherness, a blighted and perverse failure of a regional population to adapt to modern ideas and ideals, described by one internationally recognized historian as "the great cultural backwash of Western Civilization". This short novella, on the other hand, portrays an Appalachian world tragically betrayed not by mysterious cultural perversity or historical weakness but rather by familiar human failings, a world that can be taken as a moral warning to the entire nation.  The region's decline in the grips of exploitative industrialization, the novella implies, has been enabled by a combination of misogyny, social ambition, and the materialistic worship of power — all widespread attitudes in American society, not the oddities of an isolated region.

Product details...

Format: 6 x 9 Black & White Dust-Jacketed Hardback, 132 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Oct 31, 2021)
ISBN10: 1977249280
ISBN13: 9781977249289
Genre: FICTION / Literary

Author Information...

Ty Bouldin, born in Charleston, West Virginia in 1947, has lived most of his life in the Mountain State pursuing his interests in natural history, fishing, and the arts. He has painted and drawn since childhood, is a largely self-taught musician and songwriter, a poet and novelist. Ty taught English Composition and Humanities at West Virginia State College and The University of Arizona until his retirement. In 2003, he and his wife, Susan, returned to their wooded 25-acre farm where he writes, paints, tends to dogs, mowing, gardening, and the demands of an old log house.
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