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The author of the much acclaimed #1 Indie Next Pick THE GREEN AGE OF ASHER WITHEROW returns with an enthralling new novel eleven years in the making.
Epic in scope and yet intimate in its emotional power, PERPETUA'S KIN is a multi-generational mystery, a reworking of Hamlet, and a profoundly contemporary exploration of the American experience as one family embodies it: our violent heritage, our vulnerability to the vastness of our own geography, our chronic restlessness and desire for regeneration through technology, and the impossibility of escaping the history that forms us and, always, demands a reckoning. In the nonlinear, fragmentary manner of memory and inherited stories, the novel moves across much of North America over more than a century, from Pennsylvania and Iowa in the 1820s, through an American south embroiled in the Civil War, to the remote west of the 1880s, and finally to World War II San Francisco. What emerges is a portrait of a family shaped as much by tumultuous world events as by its members' long-kept secrets.
EARLY PRAISE FOR PERPETUA'S KIN:
“With PERPETUA'S KIN, M. Allen Cunningham once again demonstrates he is one of the bravest and most talented novelists writing today. His prose sings with a rare kind of poetry, even as the story sweeps you along with its dark mystery and heartbreaking tension. With each page we gain the greatest gift of fiction: an insight into our own trembling humanity.”
-EOWYN IVEY, author of To the Bright Edge of the World and The Snow Child, Pulitzer Prize Finalist
"PERPETUA'S KIN blew me away with its stark, astonishing music...so uncannily beautifu, so powerfully strange. This is a flat-out brilliant book."
-LENI ZUMAS, author of Red Clocks
“A novel in conversation with Faulkner and Melville and possibly even Robert Louis Stevenson. … A writer both original and well aware of the writers who have come before him. Cunningham’s writing, like the scope of his novel, is bold and ambitious.”
-PETER TURCHI, author of A Muse and a Maze, and judge for the Oregon Literary Fellowship
"A tour de force...an aching meditation on solitude and connection, and the vast American landscape that breeds both."
-JUSTIN HOCKING, author of The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld
"Vast scope and penetrating psychological depth ... mak[es] the past not only vividly real but essential to our understanding of the complicated present. M. Allen Cunningham’s novel takes us on a journey into our messy and violent American legacy and offers us a pathway out, confronting brutal truths and embracing hard-won compassion."
-SCOTT NADELSON, author of The Fourth Corner of the World
"In PERPETUA'S KIN, M. Allen Cunningham draws compelling characters whose lives are tangled knots and whose stories are intricately woven through time and place. From the first sentence to the last, the lyric majesty of Cunningham’s prose ushers us on a brilliant magic carpet ride steered by a master storyteller."
-GINA OCHSNER, author of The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight and The Hidden Letters of Velta B.
"This narrative's power is irresistible."
-PETER ROCK, author of Spells and My Abandonment
"PERPETUA'S KIN is beautiful, reminiscent of THE GREEN AGE OF ASHER WITHEROW in that it has the cadence I remember that takes the reader right in ... M. Allen Cunningham gives us a book to savor -- a fulfilling, substantial book, and a joy to read."
- Janet Boreta, founder of Orinda Books (CA)
"Weaving several meaningful themes ... [PERPETUA'S KIN] is both questioning and underscoring a number of basic American assumptions. The first involves heroism and the Civil War ... the second considers the entrepreneur spirit of the American West ... finally, and most importantly, Cunningham is pondering notions of family inheritance and family angst. Why can’t we break free from parents and the past? What heavy burdens do we unknowingly carry Cunningham’s style [is] verbal pointillism. Staccato daubs of sentences and paragraph, truncated letters and whispered conversations, unhappy mixtures and matches of past and present ... The style, in effect, resembles dits and dots of the telegraph system, interrupted sequences of electrical energy that somehow tell a tale..."
-Ann Ronald (for Bookin' with Sunny), author of Friendly Fallout 1953 and The New West of Edward Abbey, and Foundation Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno
6 x 9 trade paperback