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Fall Line

Joe Samuel Starnes

NewSouth Books
$24.95 hardcover
5 ½ x 8 ½  
256 pages
October 2011

December 1, 1955. Floodgates are poised to slam shut on a concrete dam straddling the Oogasula River, creating a lake that will submerge a forgotten crossroads and thousands of acres of woodland in rural Georgia. Fall Line unfolds in one day’s action, as viewed through the eyes of Elmer Blizzard, a troubled ex-deputy; Mrs. McNulty, a lonely widow who refuses to leave her doomed shack by the river; her loyal, aging dog, Percy; and a rapacious politician, State Senator Aubrey Terrell, for whom the new lake is named.

A story of land grabs, loss, wounded families, bitterness, hypocrisy, violence, and revenge in the changing South, Fall Line is populated by complex characters who want to do the right thing but don’t know how. Starnes’s novel is a memorable, beautiful, and heartbreaking tale of a backwater hamlet’s damaged people and transformed landscape.



“Starnes’s evocatively Southern story may well have readers wanting to check their shoes for red mud or find an old hound to pat. Fall Line’s message transcends region, however, leaving us at once troubled by man’s sins against nature and himself, yet knowing somehow that both will endure.” —James C. Cobb, author of The South and America since World War II
“If you liked Deliverance by James Dickey, you'll like Fall Line by Joe Samuel Starnes. The Oogasula is about to be dammed by the Georgia Power Company and to hell with the folks whose houses and graves are going to be flooded. Some people take the money. One of them takes the law into his own hands. This novel is vividly alive with people (and a great dog) and the river.”  —John Casey, author of Compass Rose and Spartina, winner of the National Book Award