Dimestore: A Writer's Life

Dimestore: A Writer's Life

by Lee Smith

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Overview


“A memoir that shines with a bright spirit, a generous heart and an entertaining knack for celebrating absurdity.”—The New York Times Book Review

“This is Smith at her finest.”—Library Journal, starred review

Set deep in the mountains of Virginia, the Grundy of Lee Smith’s youth was a place of coal miners, tent revivals, mountain music, drive-in theaters, and her daddy’s dimestore. When she was sent off to college to gain some “culture,” she understood that perhaps the richest culture she would ever know was the one she was leaving. Lee Smith’s fiction has always lived and breathed with the rhythms and people of the Appalachian South. But never before has she written her own story. 
Dimestore’s fifteen essays are crushingly honest, wise and perceptive, and superbly entertaining. Together, they create an inspiring story of the birth of a writer and a poignant look at a way of life that has all but vanished.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616206468
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 262,298
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Born in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia, Lee Smith began writing stories at the age of nine and selling them for a nickel apiece. Since then, she has written seventeen works of fiction, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, and, most recently, Guests on Earth. She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with her husband, the writer Hal Crowther. Visit her at www.leesmith.com.

Table of Contents

Preface: Raised to Leave: Some Thoughts on "Culture" xi

Dimestore 1

Recipe Box 35

Kindly Nervous 41

Lady Lessons 51

Marble Cake and Moonshine 63

Big River 77

On Lou's Porch 87

Lightning Storm 101

Driving Miss Daisy Crazy; or, Losing the Mind of the South 109

Good-bye to the Sunset Man 123

Blue Heaven 137

A Life in Books 157

Angels Passing 183

The Little Locksmith 191

Acknowledgments 201

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Dimestore: A Writer's Life 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Gail-Cooke More than 1 year ago
As all of my book borrowing friends will readily attest I’m an unrepentant page crimper - I simply fold over the top corner of a page that holds something I want to reread. Needless to say my copy of Dimestore by Lee Smith is probably the most page crimped book to be found. It is a treasure filled with warmth, honesty, understanding and humor. In this her first work of nonfiction Smith tells us of growing up in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia. It was a place where everyone knew everyone, and immediately helped a neighbor if assistance was needed. Her father owned the Ben Franklin dime store where he knew all the customers by name and sported a red bow tie at Christmas. Smith loved to help out at the store where the fluffed the dolls’ skirts and combed their hair as she made up stories about them filled with thoughts about where they came from and where they would go once they left the dime store. She grew up shadowed by mountains that she was free to explore and were so high that the sun didn’t hit her yard until almost noon. Her mother was a “real lady” who tried to show Smith a way of life other than the rural community in which she lived. She was sent off to get some culture - to Hollins College. Her dream had always been to be a writer, but when her professors told her to write about what she knew she swore she’d never write about Grundy. Thank goodness she did! She wrote beautifully about the Appalachian culture that she has come to appreciate, thus showing us people and a way of life that most of us never knew. Smith does not disguise the mental illness that was part of her family’s history and took her son’s life. Both of her parents suffered from a condition that was then called “kindly nervous” and often required hospitalization. She introduces us to relatives and local characters who changed her life, all described with love, respect and humor. Dimestore is so much more than a moving personal account, it is a gift to all of us to be returned to again and again.
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