PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST
From acclaimed author Bobbie Ann Mason, her Pulitzer Prize-nominated memoir chronicling three generations of her Kentucky lineage, spanning a century in the life of an American family.
"Mason gets to the heart of a whole generation.... She can write the hard truth about home, love, loss.... Immensely satisfying." —New York Times Book Review
People love and remember the novels of Bobbie Ann Mason because they ring so true. This dazzling memoir has the same power. In it, Mason tells the story of her own family—a multilayered saga of three generations, their aspirations, their conflicts, and the ties that bound them to one another. Spanning decades, Clear Springs gracefully weaves together the stories of Mason's grandparents, parents, and her own generation. The narrative moves from the sober industriousness of a Kentucky farm to the hippie lifestyle of the countercultural 1960s; from a New York fan magazine to the shock-therapy ward of a mental institution; from a county poorhouse to the set of a Hollywood movie. In the process of recounting her own odyssey—the story of an isolated girl who dreamed of distant places—Mason depicts the changes that have come to family, to women, and to heartland America in the twentieth century. Ultimately, Clear Springs is a heartfelt portrait of an extended family, and a profound affirmation of the importance of family love.
About the Author
Bobbie Ann Mason is the author of a number of works of fiction, including The Girl in the Blue Beret, In Country, An Atomic Romance, and Nancy Culpepper. The groundbreaking Shiloh and Other Stories won the PEN Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, and the PEN Faulkner Award. Her memoir, Clear Springs, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has won two Southern Book Awards and numerous other prizes, including the O. Henry and the Pushcart. Former writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky, she lives in Kentucky.
Jean Strouse won the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy for her biography Alice James. She lives in New York City.
"Among the many strengths of Mason's memoir is its careful subtlety. Master writer that she is, Mason doesn't overplay her transformation, and that's why we feels its effects so strongly." — San Francisco Examiner
"Fiction writer Bobbie Ann Mason's memoir tells the powerful story of the true country people of Clear Spring, Ky. . . .The book is a model of memoir and family history as Mason moves easily from her childhood back to herparents' early lives, and beyond." — Chicago Tribune
"Plain-spoken, thoughtful, sometimes humorous, but never cloying, Mason's recollections of growing up in the country, striking out for the wider world in the 1960s, and then spiraling back toward her roots, are sure to resonatewith a wide audience." — Los Angeles Times
"There is a sense of joyous purity to this book. The author is so obviously enraptured by her discoveries of the past.... Among the most amazing passages is her recreation of the possible thoughts of her paternal grandmother, a woman she had loved dearly but about whose youth and earlylife she knew little.... This book is her paean, her song of joy." — Knoxville News-Sentinel
"While exploring her past, Mason might not have intended to write a memoir for America. But she has, and brilliantly so." — Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers