The Vine That Ate the South (Paperback)

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This book tastes like eating cornbread, chicken, and watermelon at a picnic in an ancient southern cemetery, and then enjoying a couple of cold beers just as dusk engulfs you.  This is a fictitious story about a fictitious story. It's full of southern charm and wit.  We get to see the best of people, the worst of people, and the weirdness of humanity.  

The Vine that Ate the South tells the story of southern life through a hodgepodge of schizophrenic ramblings just coherent enough for us to be able to understand without some kind of debilitation or superpower; this is the reason I intensely relished this book.  

J.D. Wilkes and his hillbilly sidekick Carver Canute are going on a epic journey of mythical proportions; at least in their own minds.  They are going to experience "The Kudzu House of Horrors," a local legend.  The map in the beginning of the book will give you an idea of what's in store for the two heroes.  Everything seems to be exaggerated, or at least on the edge of believably in this book.  There are stories of insane men of the cloth, tales of mad bands holed up in abandoned grain silos, empty Freemason lodges, broken down con men, remote control gun turrets, and an epic tale revolving around a dust devil whipping up more than a storm.  All of these stories relating to the journey paint the picture of what our heroes have gone through to get to this point in their lives, and without them I don't think that these boys would have the strength to make it to the conclusion. Please pick this book up if you want a breath of a fresh story.  The process of unpacking parts of this novel will inevitably leave your eyes opened a little wider to the world, and perhaps a bit more understanding of your fellow man, even if some of them are a little hard to believe.  If I could, I would jump on a mountain bike with J.D. and Carver and not stop peddling 'til the dream is fulfilled.

— From Alex


Wilkes' debut is a rich and heartfelt yarn that resonates as deeply as his music. --Kirkus Reviews

With the energy, wit, and singularity of vision that have earned him a reputation as a celebrated and charismatic musician, The Vine That Ate the South announces J.D. Wilkes as an accomplished storyteller on a surreal, Homeric voyage that strikes at the very heart of American mythology.

In a forgotten corner of western Kentucky lies a haunted forest referred to locally as The Deadening, where vampire cults roam wild and time is immaterial. Our protagonist and his accomplice--the one and only, Carver Canute--set out down the Old Spur Line in search of the legendary Kudzu House, where an old couple is purported to have been swallowed whole by a hungry vine. Their quest leads them face to face with albino panthers, Great Dane-riding girls, protective property owners, and just about every American folk-demon ever, while forcing the protagonist to finally take stock of his relationship with his father and the man's mysterious disappearance.

The Vine That Ate the South is a mesmerizing fantasia where Wilkes ambitiously grapples with the contradictions of the contemporary American South while subversively considering how well we know our own family and friends.

It's a relentlessly fun novel, the literary equivalent of a country-punk album that grabs you and refuses to let go. Wilkes has a perfect ear for the dialect of Kentucky, and his writing is so bright, you can almost see every abandoned shack, every kudzu-covered tree. Sure, it's bizarre, and at points almost gleefully obscene, but it's undeniably one of the smartest, most original Southern Gothic novels to come along in years. --NPR

About the Author

J.D. Wilkes is an American visual artist, musician, author, filmmaker, and Kentucky Colonel. He is also an avid purveyor of traditional American music and an accomplished musician. But he is perhaps best known as the charismatic frontman for the Legendary Shack Shakers, a band that has been described as a "dynamite group" by author/fan Stephen King, and whose music has been featured on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for HBO's TrueBlood. Wilkes is the author of Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky, an exploration of his state's rich folk music heritage.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781937512552
ISBN-10: 193751255X
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 218
Language: English


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