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Look Back All the Green Valley: A Novel
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Look Back All the Green Valley: A Novel

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A Southeast Booksellers Association Best Book of the Year

Jess Kirkman returns to the North Carolina mountain town of his boyhood to tend to his ailing mother, and clean out his deceased father's workroom. What he discovers there leads him—and the reader—on an unforgettable journey through the secret life of Jess's father, Joe Robert, which culminates in a moment of profoun
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 6th 2000 by Picador (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon
I was excited to read this book because Fred Chappell is from the same county I grew up in and because I worked with a bunch of MFA students in the writing center at UNCG, where Chappell has taught forever. Alas, I was a bit disappointed. It was an okay story-the interweaving of the Dante was kind of annoying-but overall it just seemed contrived to me. Though, to his credit, Chappell did a great job of making the reader feel like the main character, Jess, was a fish out of water going back to th ...more
Stephanie
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Lanea
This is the fourth novel in a semi-autobiographical series, which also includes four volumes of poetry: River (1975); Bloodfire (1978); Wind Mountain (1979); and Earthsleep (1980); all of which are available as a collection entitled Midquest (1981). The previous novels are: I Am One of You Forever (1985); Brighten the Corner Where You Are (1989); and Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You (1996). The first and third are, hands down, two of the best books I've ever read. The novels track the life of Je ...more
Donna
Probably one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year.Being city girl, I never had much patience with good ole NC folklore,country people..this is not that at all..alot of great tales along the way, no different than any of those stories we toss around as a family..

I laughed out loud on the first chapter or so, nothing like a good ole family competion., contest and games..just too funny..brought back a great memory of a "shell contest " we once had as a family.

Fred keeps it together with
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Stephanie Ricker
Look Back All the Green Valley sadly was not as beautiful as the other Chappell novels that I’ve read and loved so much. Boring isn’t an adjective I typically apply to Chappell, but unfortunately it is apt for much of this book. Instead of the usual string of funny, tragic, and lovely stories that comprise his other novels, this one is more of a contemporary chronicle of the author’s quest to understand his father’s life, with far fewer digressions. The digressions were my favorite part, though, ...more
Jonna
This is such a wonderful book, it is well-written and the characters are interesting and the writing is so lyrical you feel like you are talking with your best friend, no reading a book. It's one of those books that you just want to hug against you, it makes you feel so good. I think I'll add it to my 'to read' list - haven't read it since '99. Definitely read this book, it will make you feel all warm inside.
Sara
Fiction about an Appalachian family in North Carolina- the adult writer son returns home to help his mother deal with some things before her death, and figures out some things about his father in the process. Not heavy or depressing though, lots of detective-type activity that leads him to some interesting towns and characters. Almost felt like a good travel novel.
Alice
Follow up to Brighten the Corner Where You Are. My little assisted living reading group enjoyed the author's father so much in that book we decided we would read this book this year that tells you more about him.
3 and 1/2 stars. Right in line with style of first book. Likable people, fun stories of another era.
Susan
It appears that this book was the last book of a series. Perhaps I would have appreciated it more if I had read the first books, but all in all I'm glad I didn't. A "man trying to figure out his father" novel, when there really wasn't much to figure out.
Jodi
2012-01-24 -- Whimsical, nostalgic and bitter-sweet. Beautiful language and enough twists and turns to excite the senses. Could almost visualise the characters and settings, and it made me really want to visit the area myself.
Hannah
I think the book was beautifully written, although I didn't enjoy it as much as its prequel, I Am One of You Forever. Parts were slow going. Upon finishing it, I felt like I'd enjoy it more in the context of a group discussion.
Krenner1
I only recently found Fred Chappell and I admired and raved about his tender stories and wonderful use of language. But on this one I felt his eloquent language got in the way of the story and plot. It was overdone.
Chuck McGrady
Just a charming story---set in the North Carolina mountains, Chappell is just great story-teller. I wasn't sure where the story was headed, but I loved the pace and the comedy. Glad I picked up this book!
Brenda
Pretty good but didn't hold my complete attention. I'd like to try the author again on another of his books to see if it's him or me that doesn't make a great fit.
Brian
A good read, but it was obviously part of the trilogy. I read the first two 14-15 years ago and forget a lot of them. I'll have to return to them to remind myself.
Esther
Great description of the Appalachians and the people. I was not impressed with the plot though. I didn't understand the last fourth of it.
Sheldon Russell
A nice job with place & time. Nostalgic. A son's tribute to his father.
Louise Hall
Another Chappell great.
Elspeth
Apr 02, 2007 Elspeth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: David
Another fun southern read.
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Dec 13, 2014
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Fred Davis Chappell retired after 40 years as an English professor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997-2002. He attended Duke University.

His 1968 novel Dagon, which was named the Best Foreign Book of the Year by the Academie Française, is a recasting of a Cthulhu Mythos horror story as a psychologically realistic Southern Gothic.

His l
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More about Fred Chappell...
I Am One of You Forever Brighten the Corner Where You Are: A Novel Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You: Stories Dagon More Shapes Than One: A Book of Stories

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