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Smothermoss (Paperback)

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“This beautifully strange book of the mountains is alarming and inspiring."—Samantha Hunt, author of The Unwritten Book

A haunting, imaginative, and twisting tale of two sisters and the menacing, unexplained forces that threaten them and their rural mountain community.

In 1980s Appalachia, sisters Sheila and Angie couldn’t be more different. While their mother works long shifts at the nearby asylum, Sheila does her best to care for their home and keeps to herself, even when enduring relentless bullying from classmates. Her rambunctious, fearless younger sister, Angie, is more focused on fighting imaginary zombies, and creating tarot-like cards that seem to have a mind of their own.

When the brutal murder of two female hikers on the nearby Appalachian Trail stuns their small community, the sisters find themselves tangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Angie discovers a ripped shirt, soaked in blood; money Sheila’s been stashing away disappears; and a strange man shows up at a local store, trying to barter with a woman’s watch. As the threat of violence looms larger, the mysterious, ancient mountain they live on—and their willingness to trust each other—might be the only things that can save them from the darkness consuming their home.

In turns both terrifying and otherworldly, author Alisa Alering opens the door to the hidden world of Smothermoss—a mountain that sighs, monsters made of ink, rabbits both dead and alive, and ropes that just won’t come undone. Unsettling, propulsive, and wonderfully atmospheric, Alering’s stunning debut novel renegotiates what is seen and unseen, what is real and what is haunted.

About the Author

Alisa Alering grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania and now lives in Arizona. After attending Clarion West, their short fiction has been published in Fireside, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Podcastle, and Cast of Wonders, among others, and been recognized by the Calvino Prize. A former librarian and science/technology reporter, they teach fiction workshops at the Highlights Foundation.

Praise For…

For those obsessed with Appalachian lore comes a hauntingly atmospheric tale toeing the line of a twisted fairy tale. Centered on two sisters growing up in 1980s Appalachia, this novel is a gothic and propulsive read that will dazzle you from start to finish.

— Barnes & Noble, A Most Anticipated Debut of 2024

This beautifully strange book of the mountains is alarming and inspiring. Alisa Alering’s Smothermoss goes fearlessly toward realities dismantled by violence, and the weird, wonderful world of the woods.

— Samantha Hunt, author of The Unwritten Book

At the heart of this story are two sisters, the mountain on which they live, and the persistent question as to which is more perilous, the natural world or the unnatural.  Beautifully written, tense and absorbing, Smothermoss is an original story from a truly gifted storyteller.

— Karen Joy Fowler, author of Booth

Smothermoss is rich, strange, and beautiful, simultaneously eerie and so very honest. An exciting first novel.

— Kij Johnson, author of The Privilege of the Happy Ending: Small, Medium, and Large Stories

Product Details
ISBN: 9781959030584
ISBN-10: 1959030582
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: July 16th, 2024
Pages: 264
Language: English