A restive nobility binds the sorrowful protagonists of Weil’s stellar debut collection of novellas, each a tender anthem to a starkly unforgiving Virginia countryside and the misguided determination of its most forsaken residents. Whether driven by a persistent yearning for acceptance, a paralyzing sense of loss, or a plaintive slide into oblivion, three solitary men are eventually undone by the abject and overwhelming loneliness that comes when they are abandoned by a loved one. In “Ridge Weather,” an isolated cattle farmer grapples with unfamiliar independence in the aftermath of his father’s suicide, while “Stillman Wing” chronicles the inexorable decline of a once-vital man after his self-destructive daughter leaves home. The searingly poignant “Sarverville Remains” calls forth the mesmerizing voice of a slow-witted young man who is willfully caught in a diabolical love triangle. Throughout, Weil limns a rugged emotional landscape every bit as raw and desolate as the land that inspired it, delivering an eloquent portrait of people who defiantly cling to a fierce independence.  — Carol Haggas

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