Appalachian stories need not feature a “granny woman” and be set in the past. Out of the Mountains: Appalachian Stories by West Virginia native Meredith Sue Willis (published by Ohio University Press in July) is a collection to prove the point. Its thirteen stories are set in the milieu of the 21st century and explore current issues familiar not to just Appalachians but to contemporary readers every where. Her timely stories ring true and are often humorous.
As Willis (who was at this year’s West Virginia Book Festival) remarks in the book’s afterword, Appalachians have more to write about than “whittling and feuding.” She is one of the true voices of Appalachia in print today.