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Soil: A Novel
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Published:
Simon & Schuster 2015
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Description
In this darkly comic, "promising debut from an assured new voice in Southern fiction" (Library Journal), an idealistic young farmer moves his family to a Mississippi flood basin, suffers financial ruin—and becomes increasingly paranoid he's being framed for murder.It all begins with a simple dream. An ambitious young environmental scientist hopes to establish a sustainable farm on a small patch of land nestled among the Mississippi hills. Jay Mize convinces his wife Sandy to move their six-year-old son away from town and to a rich and lush parcel where Jacob could run free and Jay could pursue the dream of a new and progressive agriculture for the twenty-first century. Within a year he'd be ruined. When the corpse appears on his family's property, Jay is convinced he's being set up. And so beings a journey into a maze of misperceptions and personal obsessions, as the farmer, his now-estranged wife, a predatory deputy, and a backwoods wanderer, all try to uphold a personal sense of honor. By turns hilarious and darkly disturbing, Soil traces one man's apocalypse to its epic showdown in the Mississippi mudflats. "The Coen brothers meets Flannery O'Connor. It's definitely Gothic, it's definitely dark, but at the same time, it is hilarious and heartbreaking" (Kyle Jones, NPR). Drawing on elements of classic Southern noir, dark comedy, and modern dysfunction, Jamie Kornegay's novel is about the gravitational pull of one man's apocalypse and the hope that maybe, just maybe, he can be reeled in from the brink. "Dig your hands into this Soil to find gutty and peppery writing, an almost recklessly bold imagination, audacious empathy, and a story so twisty and volatile that nearly every turn feels electrifyingly unexpected" (Jonathan Miles, award-winning author of Want Not and Dear American Airlines).
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/10/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781476750903
ASIN:
B00LD1OTF2
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jamie Kornegay. (2015). Soil: A Novel. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jamie Kornegay. 2015. Soil: A Novel. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jamie Kornegay, Soil: A Novel. Simon & Schuster, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jamie Kornegay. Soil: A Novel. Simon & Schuster, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:43:16
Date Updated:
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Apr 18, 2021 06:21:48
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      • bioText: Jamie Kornegay lives in the Mississippi Delta, where he moved in 2006 to establish an independent bookstore, Turnrow Book Co. Before that he was a bookseller, events coordinator, and radio show producer at the famous Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. He studied creative fiction under Barry Hannah at the University of Mississippi.
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shortDescription
A darkly comic debut novel by an independent bookseller about an idealistic young farmer who moves his family to a Mississippi flood basin, suffers financial ruin—and becomes increasingly paranoid he’s being framed for murder.
It all began with a simple dream. An ambitious young environmental scientist hoped to establish a sustainable farm on a small patch of river-bottom land nestled among the Mississippi hills. Jay Mize convinced his wife Sandy to move their six-year-old son away from town and to a rich and lush parcel where Jacob could run free and Jay could pursue the dream of a new and progressive agriculture for the twenty-first century. He did not know that within a year he’d be ruined, that flood and pestilence would invade his fledgling farm or that his wife and son would leave him to pick up the pieces by himself.

When Jay Mize discovers a corpse on his property, he is sure his bad luck has come to a head and he is being framed. Were Jay in...
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title
Soil
fullDescription
In this darkly comic, "promising debut from an assured new voice in Southern fiction" (Library Journal), an idealistic young farmer moves his family to a Mississippi flood basin, suffers financial ruin—and becomes increasingly paranoid he's being framed for murder.
It all begins with a simple dream. An ambitious young environmental scientist hopes to establish a sustainable farm on a small patch of land nestled among the Mississippi hills. Jay Mize convinces his wife Sandy to move their six-year-old son away from town and to a rich and lush parcel where Jacob could run free and Jay could pursue the dream of a new and progressive agriculture for the twenty-first century. Within a year he'd be ruined.

When the corpse appears on his family's property, Jay is convinced he's being set up. And so beings a journey into a maze of misperceptions and personal obsessions, as the farmer, his now-estranged wife, a predatory deputy, and a backwoods wanderer, all try to uphold a personal sense of honor. By turns hilarious and darkly disturbing, Soil traces one man's apocalypse to its epic showdown in the Mississippi mudflats. "The Coen brothers meets Flannery O'Connor. It's definitely Gothic, it's definitely dark, but at the same time, it is hilarious and heartbreaking" (Kyle Jones, NPR).

Drawing on elements of classic Southern noir, dark comedy, and modern dysfunction, Jamie Kornegay's novel is about the gravitational pull of one man's apocalypse and the hope that maybe, just maybe, he can be reeled in from the brink. "Dig your hands into this Soil to find gutty and peppery writing, an almost recklessly bold imagination, audacious empathy, and a story so twisty and volatile that nearly every turn feels electrifyingly unexpected" (Jonathan Miles, award-winning author of Want Not and Dear American Airlines).
sortTitle
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 26, 2015
        Rural Mississippi is the setting for Kornegay’s beautifully written first novel, in which James “Jay” Mize invests all his family’s assets into an experiment in soil-free farming, a concept he believes will revolutionize the farming industry and save the world. He convinces his wife, Sandy, of its promise, and she enthusiastically works to make his project succeed. However, bad weather and a family tragedy handicap the endeavor, and Jay faces bankruptcy. In his dejection, he begins having paranoid fantasies, which compel Sandy to regretfully take their son, Jacob, back to town to live temporarily with her father. Jay and Sandy struggle with the breakup of their family and their difficult circumstances. When Jay finds a corpse on his land after an August rain, he believes it came to be there as part of a conspiracy to ruin him. As a result, he initiates a chain of tragic events affecting him, his family, and others. Penetrating characterizations and a well-charted story bode well for future work from this author. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2015
        In this Southern-gothic debut novel, a lost soul battles the elements and the elements win.The Earth is a malevolent character from the opening scene, in which a rural Mississippi flood causes muck to overflow from ditches. Into this ominous setting comes Jay Mize, an idealistic misfit with a paranoid streak and unworkable dreams of running a self-sustaining farm. At the start of the book, both he and his life are well on the way to unraveling. The farm has collapsed, his neighbors think he's unhinged, and his wife is starting to agree. Then a dead body mysteriously turns up on his property, and his paranoia hits a peak. Jay is convinced that he needs to destroy all evidence of the body, and his efforts inevitably open up new complications; especially since one hand remains missing. His wife, Sandy, leaves him and takes their son at around the same time Jay starts getting shadowed by policeman Danny Shoals. Jay has a shameful racial crime in his family history, and Shoals-who's soon devoting his efforts to seducing Sandy-has some bad behavior in his own past. Jay's reunion with his son provides a brief moment of hope before his final confrontation with an angry river and an angrier police officer. The main problem is the lack of any sympathetic characters; Jay is simply too far gone to rank as a tragic figure. But Kornegay's skillful writing keeps the story gripping and the atmosphere haunting.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2015
        A strong sense of placethe Mississippi Deltadistinguishes this first novel about lives spiraling out of control. After a flood puts an end to his experiment in organic farming, Jay Mize's concerns about threats to the environment develop into full-blown paranoia. His wife, Sandy, leaves him and moves back to town with Jacob, their six-year-old son. When Jay discovers a corpse on his property, he believes he is being set up and takes elaborate steps to destroy it rather than report it to the authorities. His paranoia deepens when Deputy Sheriff Danny Shoals comes sniffing around to investigate a missing-person report. Shoals is also sniffing around Sandy, but the deputy's own particular obsessions cancel any chance for a healthy relationship and nearly derail his career. As Jay, along with his farm, falls further into chaos and decay, Jacob provides a tenuousand temporarylink to his rational self. There isn't much in the way of redemption here, but the shadows are relieved by shafts of dark humor and deep empathy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 1, 2014

        Owner of a bookstore in the Mississippi Delta and previously a bookseller, events coordinator, and radio show producer at the celebrated Square Books in Oxford, MS, Kornegay learns what it's like on the other side of the desk. Environmental scientist Jay Mize hopes to establish a sustainable farm on some river-bottom land in the Mississippi hills. But, flooded out and abandoned by his wife and son, he's paranoid enough to dispose of a corpse he's found on his property. Big trouble, big buzz.

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2015

        A renegade farmer who goes up against nature and loses forms the basis of independent Southern bookseller Kornegay's memorable first novel. When Jay Mize gave up the comforts of a respectable career and home to begin an experiment in soil-free farming, he expected to be on the cutting edge of an agricultural revolution. But a crippling flood washes out his efforts and places him on the road to bankruptcy, and his wife, Sandy, concerned about Jay's mental health, leaves with their son. Soon after, Jay comes upon a corpse in the Tockawah River behind his house; convinced the body is part of a plot to destroy him, he sets about making it disappear. Meanwhile, a nosy deputy with a roving eye for the town's single women is poking around the Mize farm (not to mention Sandy's apartment) in search of a big bust to validate his wayward career. Add to that a revenge-seeking vagrant roaming the woods behind Jay's property and perhaps his paranoia isn't so misguided after all. VERDICT Kornegay imbues his characters with depth and his story with suspense, but the real star of the book is the pungent and foreboding Mississippi earth itself. A promising debut from an assured new voice in Southern fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 9/15/14.]--Michael Pucci, South Orange P.L., NJ

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        July 1, 2015
        In Kornegay's debut, Jay Mize, an environmental scientist whose wife has left him, finds a corpse on his property while cleaning up after a flood. Instead of reporting it, he convinces himself he will be blamed and so disposes of the body in gruesome and time-consuming fashion on his ruined farm. Meanwhile, his wife is being pursued by a cocky, self-confident member of the local sheriff's department looking for a missing person. She's also dealing with a comatose father and a confused six-year-old son as Jay's thinking becomes more and more convoluted. Brian Hutchinson manages the Southern voices capably. VERDICT Recommended for those who enjoy dark comedy. ["Kornegay imbues his characters with depth and his story with suspense, but the real star of the book is the pungent and foreboding Mississippi earth itself. A promising debut from an assured new voice in Southern fiction": "LJ" 3/1/15 review of the S. & S. hc.]--Cheryl Youse, Moultrie, GA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
A Novel
popularity
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publisher
Simon & Schuster
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