Back to Top

11.07.12 Chappell, Fred, Four Novels: I Am One of You Forever, published in 1985, Brighten the Corner Where You Are, published in 1989, Farewell, I’m Bound to Leave You, published in 1996, and Look Back All the Green Valley, published in 1999.

Notes Concerning the Author

Fred Chappell was Born in 1936 in Canton, North Carolina, was for 40 years on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and has been Poet Laureate of his State.  He is one of the foremost American writers of our  time.  Chappell belongs to the select company of  Southern greats—Edgar Allan Poe, William Gilmore Simms, Robert Penn Warren, George Garrett and Wendell Berry—who  have excelled equally in poetry, fiction, and essay.

Our Review

An early Chappell novel, Dagon, was named the best “foreign” book of the year by the prestigious Academie Francaise.  Since then Chappell has published well over 20 books in a variety of genres  and has won the Bollingen Prize, usually considered the top award  for poetry in the U.S.  His poetic volumes, like Midquest, Earthsleep, and The River have received the highest praise, as have his translations  of classical poetry.  In the quartet of novels (sometimes called short story collections) that begins with I Am One of You Forever, Chappell chronicles the life of the Kirkman family of western North Carolina.  The series begins in the years before World War II but throughout moves both forward to the present and backward for several generations.  The first of the series was called “a magical, wonderful book” and one that gets better with each reading.  The books are not easy to describe, incorporating both a profound tragic sense of life and uproarious fantasy and humour.  Perhaps the true theme is love—love of family, love of community, unrequited love, love of Creation and humanity.

Availability of these Novels

Most volumes of the quartet are in print and/or available as used books in both paperback and hardback.