Strange as This Weather Has Been

Strange as This Weather Has Been Cover

Strange as This Weather Has Been

By Ann Pancake

Shoemaker & Hoard, Paperback, 9781593761660, 360pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2007

Set in present day West Virginia, Ann Pancake's debut novel, "Strange As This Weather Has Been," tells the story of a coal mining familya couple and their four childrenliving through the latest mining boom and dealing with the mountaintop removal and strip mining that is ruining what is left of their mountain life. As the mine turns the mountains to slag and wastewater, workers struggle with layoffs and children find adventure in the blasted moonscape craters.
"Strange As This Weather Has Been" follows several members of the family, with a particular focus on fifteen-year-old Bant and her mother, Lace. Working at a scab motel, Bant becomes involved with a young miner while her mother contemplates joining the fight against the mining companies. As domestic conflicts escalate at home, the children are pushed more and more outside among junk from the floods and felled trees in the hollowsthe only nature they have ever known. But Bant has other memories and is as curious and strong-willed as her mother, and ultimately comes to discover the very real threat of destruction that looms as much in the landscape as it does at home.

About the Author
ANN PANCAKE grew up in Romney, West Virginia and as an adult continues to be haunted by the Appalachia of her childhood. She graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University, obtained her M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina, and earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. She has taught extensively in Japan, American Samoa, and Thailand. Her short stories have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and Antietam Review; she has also published creative non-fiction and scholarly articles. Her numerous awards include the Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Fiction, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writers' Fellowship Grant, and scholarship and teaching awards. She presently teaches at Penn State Erie.