Bark up the right tree with ‘A Body’s Just as Dead’ by Cathy Adams
NEWNAN, Ga.—According to author Cathy Adams, “Writing should make us bristle a little. A story should keep a writer up at night long after the computer has been shut down. That’s the most unsettling, and weirdly, the best feeling in the world because that’s the story I want people to read.”
Dive into this satisfyingly haunting headspace in Adam’s novel, “A Body’s Just as Dead,” to be released early August by SFK Press.
“The emotions that roil to the surface of the novel are mostly loss and fear: loss of the promise, whether real or imagined, that life was going to give you certain things like security or success. And then fear when you realize that life is not going to be easy and that control is an illusion,” Adams said.
“A Body’s Just as Dead” is defined by empathy.
The characters in “A Body’s Just as Dead” are accustomed to a level of privilege, “pick-up truck entitlement”, and when that begins to slide away, frustration turns to fear, and sometimes violence. Adam’s hopes readers come to understand how this kind of behavior can progress to the inexcusable.
“Perhaps, by digging into a character’s head we can see their humanity, despite their behavior,” SFK Press publisher Steve McCondichie said.
Cathy Adams has been writing novels nonstop for 25 years, ever since she wrote a play consisting of two characters and five lines of dialogue as a first-grader. Opening up the raw insides of what makes us who we are is the basis for most of her stories—when a plot or character makes Cathy feel uncomfortable, then she knows she needs to write about it. “A Body’s Just as Dead” is inspired by an actual event and comes from her desire to understand why someone planning to buy AA batteries and toilet paper at a Walmart could end up shooting another person out of rage. A native of Alabama, Cathy is a Pushcart Prize nominated short story writer. She currently resides in Liaoning, China.
In the town of Drayton, Alabama, the once high-paying manufacturing jobs have been replaced by nail salons and bail bonds. Pete-O Hemper, a diabetic amputee in a wheelchair, feels betrayed by the America he once loved and believed in. On a steady diet of hate radio, he blames everyone around him for trying to remake his country into a place where men like him are no longer in control. Pete-O’s nephew, Robert, jailed on assault charges, is desperate for money and hatches a plan to rob a meth lab. Pete-O’s sister, Lilith Ann, the exhausted matriarch of this family, struggles to hold everyone together when Pete-O brings a Chinese bride to America with a past as dark as his. Sometimes darkly funny, “A Body’s Just as Dead” captures the 21st century frustration of small-town families who feel the American Dream is in shreds and resent having to share its remnants with people who “aren’t like us.”
Praise for “A Body’s Just as Dead”:
“’A Body’s Just as Dead’ is hilarious and wrenching, a portrait of a family’s mistaken pride in its own self-deception. You read it in bursts of laughter, followed by sustained sympathy for characters striving to maintain their dignity in a world they don’t understand or control.”
—Kent Meyers, author of “Twisted Tree” and “The Work of Wolves”
“In the best tradition of Southern writers, Cathy Adams’ dark humor overrides pessimism and manages to elevate these characters into something noble and endearing. A much-appreciated, lighter treatment of the typically dire representations we expect to see about a place and people left behind.”
—Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos, author of “The Hall of Final Ruin”
More information about “A Body’s Just as Dead” can be found at: http://sfkpress.com/a-bodys-just-as-dead/
More information about Cathy Adams can be found at: https://cathyadamsauthor.com
Purchase “A Body’s Just as Dead” August 7 from your favorite local Southern independent bookseller or online.
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