In the vein of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone and the works of Ron Rash, a novel set in a tough-and-tumble Mississippi town where drugs, whiskey, guns, and the desire for revenge violently intersect.
For 11 years the clock has been ticking for Russell Gaines as he sits in Parchman Penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta. His sentence is now up, and he believes his debt has been paid. But when he returns home, he soon discovers that revenge lives and breathes all around him.
On the same day that Russell is released from prison, a woman named Maben and her young daughter trudge along the side of the interstate under the punishing summer sun. Desperate and exhausted, the pair spend their last dollar on a room for the night, a night that ends with Maben running through the darkness holding a pistol, and a dead deputy sprawled in the middle of the road in the glow of his own headlights.
With the dawn, destinies collide, and Russell is forced to decide whose life he will save - his own or the lives of the woman and child.
Delivered in powerful and lyrical prose, Desperation Road is a story of troubled souls twisted with regret and bound by secrets that stretch over the years and across the land.
"Smith is a meticulous craftsman who evokes his protagonists and their world with patience and subtlety. Ultimately, the road of the novel's title moves just through desperation, but also into a tentative landscape of hope, and perhaps even redemption." (Publishers Weekly)
"Desperation Road is an elegantly written, perfectly paced novel about a man and woman indelibly marked by violence. Characters who would be mere stereotypes in a lesser writer's hands are fully realized, and we come to care deeply as they attempt to create a better life for themselves. An outstanding performance." (Ron Rash)
"Michael Farris Smith's Desperation Road reads as if it were forged in a fire stoked by the ghosts of Carson McCullers, Larry Brown, and William Gay. The result is a novel rife with violent beauty and incredible grace. Smith's terse, muscular prose encapsulates a heart that renders this novel as rich and alive and wounded as any you'll find in contemporary fiction." (Wiley Cash, New York Times best-selling author of A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy)
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