Guests on Earth
By Lee Smith
(Shannon Ravenel Books, Paperback, 9781616203801, 348pp.)
Publication Date: May 2014
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Reading Lee Smith ranks among the great pleasures of American fiction . . . Gives evidence again of the grace and insight that distinguish her work. Robert Stone, author of "Death of the Black-Haired Girl"It s 1936 when orphaned thirteen-year-old Evalina Toussaint is admitted to Highland Hospital, a mental institution in Asheville, North Carolina, known for its innovative treatments for nervous disorders and addictions. Taken under the wing of the hospital s most notable patient, Zelda Fitzgerald, Evalina witnesses cascading events that lead up to the tragic fire of 1948 that killed nine women in a locked ward, Zelda among them. Author Lee Smith has created, through a seamless blending of fiction and fact, a mesmerizing novel about a world apart--in which art and madness are luminously intertwined."