By Robert Gipe
“Haints and heroes dominate Robert Gipe’s Pop, the last installment of a trilogy that takes everything you thought you knew about Appalachia and turns it on its sunburned ear. It’s a satisfying ending to a tribute of misunderstood people in a place where beauty is both tremendous and tattered as a dog-pawed quilt. Gipe’s stories and drawings crackle with a full-throated reverence that is stereotype bending, unsentimental, and utterly original. When the crotch-grabbers get their due, you will laugh, cheer, and shake your head.”
Beth Macy, author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America
“Robert Gipe adopts us into a family of characters so endearing, we can’t help but wade with them into the mess of life. A sensitively folded narrative, Pop is layered with the whimsy of Jacktales and a reckoning of the human spirit’s quest to upend society’s injustices. As always, Gipe’s voice is honest, true, and unflinching.”
Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, author of Even As We Breathe
“Robert Gipe is Appalachia’s Willy Wonka. Pop is your golden ticket. It will crack your smile, break your heart, and rouse your soul all in the space of a page.”
Wesley Browne, author of Hillbilly Hustle
“Robert Gipe is the writer’s writer of Appalachia, our soothsayer and sage. His work has busted our storytelling wide open, and his legacy will be a long one. In Pop, the Canard County saga draws to a perfect close with all the trademarks we have come to expect of its author: gut-punch dialogue, beautiful prose, unique illustrations, and a hard reckoning with ourselves and our neighbors. Only Gipe can show us our wounds like this, and he teaches us once again how beautiful, wacky, and tender we are. I am sad to say goodbye to this trilogy. Thank you, Dawn. Thank you, everyone in Canard County. And thank you, Robert, for every brilliant word.”
Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface
A coming-of-age story of hope, betrayal, and familial legacy set in rural Appalachia.
Set in the run-up and aftermath of the 2016 election, Pop brings the Canard County trilogy to a close as Dawn, the young narrator of Gipe’s first novel, Trampoline, is now the mother of the fifteen-year-old Nicolette. Whereas Dawn has become increasingly agoraphobic as the Internet persuades her the world is descending into chaos, Nicolette narrates an Appalachia where young people start businesses rooted in local food culture and work to build community. But Nicolette’s precocious rise in the regional culinary scene is interrupted when her policeman cousin violently assaults her, setting in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy the family—and Canard County in the process.
In the tradition of Gipe’s first two novels, Pop’s Appalachia is full of clear-eyed, caring, creative, and complicated people struggling to hang on to what is best about their world and reject what is not. Their adventures reflect an Appalachia that is overrun by outside commentators looking for stories to tell about the region—sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but almost always oversimplified.
Robert Gipe lives and works in Harlan County, Kentucky. Pop is his third Ohio University Press novel. His first, Trampoline, won the 2016 Weatherford Award for Appalachian novel of the year. His second novel, Weedeater, was a Weatherford finalist. For the past thirty years he has worked in arts-based organizing and is the founding coproducer of the Higher Ground community performance series. He has contributed to numerous journals and anthologies, is a playwright, and is currently a script consultant on a forthcoming television show based on Beth Macy’s Dopesick. Author photo by Amelia Kirby. More info →
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When Dawn Jewell—fifteen, restless, curious, and wry—joins her grandmother’s fight against mountaintop removal mining in spite of herself, she has to decide whether to save a mountain or save herself; be ruled by love or by anger; remain in the land of her birth or run for her life. Inspired by oral tradition and punctuated by Gipe’s raw and whimsical drawings Trampoline is a powerful portrait of a place.
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