Keith Baker, a cattle farmer in western North Carolina, lives a simple but tiring rural life. Physical labor has become his refuge from emotional frustration, struggle, and sorrow. Returning to his hometown in Alabama, however, he is forced to reunite with old friends and foes and to revisit family stories that shed light on his present life. As autumn passes, Keith, torn between several worlds, searches for justice, meaning, and understanding with his loved ones and with his internal self. His journey leaves us wondering how individual acts affect future generations, and challenges us to acknowledge the true value of personal relationships and the vulnerability of existence.
Bradford Philen has taught high school English since 2002 in Namibia, New York City, Senegal, China, and is now working in the Philippines. He is the author of the novella AUTUMN FALLS and two short story collections--EVERYTHING IS INSHA'ALLAH and WHEN THE COLOR STARTED. His fourth book, a novel, is forthcoming in 2024. You can find his full list of publications at http://www.bradfordphilen.com.
This books flows along like life...the pace of the book in some way reminds us of our mortality and place in life's great tapestry. Keith, the main character, long-divorced, not seeing his son regularly, works daily on his farm in North Carolina. His story interacts with his neighbors, community, and his past finding surprises around the corners; his eccentric neighbors, another love, the surprises of his father's past all tie together with the death of his brother.
His own mortality confronts him just as he thinks he will start a new and hopeful chapter of his life. The ending is a surprise and one to make the reader think of their own place in their children's memories...a not-to-be-missed first novel.