This classic novel, written in the midst of the Great Depression, translates the themes of Balzac to a Southern Appalachian setting. Lumpkin traces the path of the McClure family as they move from living as poor bootleggers in the mountains to living in a mill town, earning a pittance as factory workers. The McClures are navigating the treacherous path of industrialization without a safety net, even as the entire country reels with the effects of the Depression.
Lumpkin weaves a story in poetic mountains speech, moving through powerful religious experiences, through lawless love, and reaching a tremendous climax in a mill strike waged with all the desperation of a life and death struggle. Without literary tricks or devices she achieves tremendous emotional effects through sincerity and realism.
Grace Lumpkin was born and raised in Georgia. She spent many years working for the YMCA in Georgia, spending summers in the North Carolina mountains, where she experienced the plights of rural laborers firsthand. She also wrote four books, including The Wedding and Full Circle before her death in 1980.