Cataloochee is a comprehensive, albeit dry, portrait of a time, place, and family dynamic long forgotten. Set against the mountains of North Carolina - an area which we now know as the Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Wayne Caldwell’s debut novel does have its strengths. Its charming, humorous, and sometimes down-right mean cast of characters are well-developed and not without their tender moments of love and loss. But the novel may have benefitted from being structured as a series of vignettes meant to eventually paint a strong picture of a community through three family generations. Instead, its lack of plot devices and rambling exposition makes the process of investing in its many characters (and there are many!) a long and tedious one.