Monday, April 6, 2015

David Joy

David Joy is the author of the novels Where All Light Tends to Go (Putnam, 2015) and Waiting On The End Of The World (Putnam, 2016), as well as the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey (Bright Mountain Books, 2011), which was a finalist for the Reed Environmental Writing Award and the Ragan Old North State Award for Creative Nonfiction.

From Joy's Q & A with Jason Howard at Appalachian Heritage:

JH: The book is set in North Carolina, and one of the characters runs a meth ring while another turns to violence. As you know, Appalachia is often stereotyped as a violent, drug-ravaged, poverty-stricken region. Did you worry about falling prey to this image of the region in creating these characters and dealing with these issues? How did you walk this tightrope?

DJ: This is a big question…There is a drug epidemic in Appalachia, just as there is educational issues and vocational limitations and a host of other systemic problems that have existed for a long time. To the rest of America, this is the only thing they see reported about this region. They see it on the news and they watch reality television shows like Moonshiners or Appalachian Outlaws or a documentary like The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia and that becomes Appalachia. That’s where the stereotype is rooted. The reality is that while these problems exist, they don’t define us, and I think that’s why we get so defensive. At the same time, I think dismissing these things is just as problematic as using that stereotype to encapsulate an entire region and a people. At the very least we need to take these opportunities to initiate conversation.

I think it’s dangerous to ever talk in universalities. I can walk out my front door in the heart of Jackson County and take you to visit a man who still digs ramps and branch lettuce, a man who predicts the weather based on how the fat rises and sinks in a jar of bear meat. I can take you just over the mountain from there to a place where addicts are trading stolen goods for methamphetamine and oxycontin, or show you a house where a man was tortured to death. Then there’s a woman in town who left the mountains and got a law degree, a daughter of farmers who got an education and came back to open a law firm. There are kids at the southern end of the county whose parents are millionaires from Florida, kids born and bred in the mountains in gated communities on Tom Fazio designed golf courses. These are all different truths of a single place. These are all Appalachian stories. The problem doesn’t lie in the truth of it, but...[read on]
Writers Read: David Joy.

The Page 69 Test: Where All Light Tends to Go.

My Book, The Movie: Where All Light Tends to Go.

--Marshal Zeringue