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Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail: 20th Anniversary Edition

Louise Shivers

John F. Blair, Publisher
$10.95 paperback
5 x 7 ½    
145 pages
Published in 2003

When Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail was first published in 1983, it was named the best first novel of the year by USA Today. Set in the tobacco country of North Carolina in 1937, the story is told through the voice of Roxy Walston, the 20-year-old daughter of the town undertaker, wife of a struggling tobacco farmer, and mother of a two-year-old. When Jack Ruffin, a wanderer looking for work, is sent out to the farm to help Roxy’s husband, things are set in place that change Roxy’s life forever.



“It’s a tale that’s been told . . .  a thousand times before. But, oh my, the atmosphere that Mrs. Shivers . . . has given to this version of it; the sullen sultry mood of longing and loneliness, the sense of dread and excitement . . . It’s one of those rare cases of a writer producing an architecturally structured novel without sacrificing any of the story’s poetry . . . [It] sets us on fire.” —The New York Times
“[Each] perfectly cured tobacco leaf; each household chore; each corpse . . . is there for perfect artistic purpose. . . . A masterpiece, a jewel, an utterly brilliant piece of work.” —Los Angeles Times
“Comparisons with Flannery O’Connor may seem excessive—yet comparisons almost insist on being made.” —Washington Post
“With this absorbing first novel we meet an author richly endowed and sure of her way.” —Eudora Welty