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The Guitar Player and Other Songs of Exile, by Jo Ann Kiser



Many of us lose not only our childhoods, as we all must, but also the landscapes that make our early years a kind of paradise—especially true in this book for the former inhabitants of rural eastern Kentucky.

From the first story, about Clara Fenton’s enchantment with the young man who would go past her childhood gate with his guitar and her later encounters with him, to the final tale, about Kate and Emory Corliss’s return to Osier County to piece together the history of their family and visit their remaining close kin, these narratives will remind readers belonging to other landscapes what it means to rediscover their own special place. The stories will also speak to the reader about what it means to leave home to make a life and an identity elsewhere.

The Guitar Player and Other Songs of Exile is a kind of prose echo of William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience,” celebrating the beauty of childhood while never losing sight of the wisdom that experience teaches us.

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