Salvage This World: A Novel (Hardcover)
In Michael Farris Smith's latest "riveting" epic, a young woman returns home with her child to her ghost-haunted father, while a religious extremist hunts the stormridden territory to find the girl who may be the region's savior. (Laird Hunt, National Book Award-nominated author of Zorrie and Neverhome)There was no rising from the dead and there was no hand to calm the storms and there was no peace in no valley.
In the hurricane-ravaged bottomlands of South Mississippi, where stores are closing and jobs are few, a fierce zealot has gained a foothold, capitalizing on the vulnerability of a dwindling population and a burning need for hope. As she preaches and promises salvation from the light of the pulpit, in the shadows she sows the seeds of violence.
Elsewhere, Jessie and her toddler, Jace, are on the run across the Mississippi/Louisiana line, in a resentful return to her childhood home and her desolate father. Holt, Jace's father, is missing and hunted by a brutish crowd, and an old man witnesses the wrong thing in the depths of night. In only a matter of days, all of their lives will collide, and be altered, in the maelstrom of the changing world.
At once elegiac and profound, Salvage This World journeys into the heart of a region growing darker and less forgiving, and asks how we keep going—what do we hold onto—in a land where God has fled.
Garden & Gun Top Reads of 2023 • Bibliolifestyle Best Literary Fiction of 2023 • Southern Living Southern Writers to Read Right Now
"Michael Farris Smith bolsters his reputation as an intoxicating literary stylist. . . "Salvage This World" is a bruising, bracing read by a hell of a writer. If you consider life too short for uninspired sentences or nondescript locales, this book is for you."—John Brandon, NYTBR
“Farris Smith is in top form at the layered story’s breathtaking climax, masterfully guiding disparate variables from a slow burn to an incendiary ending with suspenseful detail, multi-sensory pacing, and a future open to interpretation.”—Claire Fullerton, New York Journal of Books
“With a cast of fierce, masterfully drawn characters set loose in gorgeous, hurricane-blasted landscapes, Salvage this World by Michael Farris Smith is riveting: I couldn't put it down.”—Laird Hunt, National Book Award-nominated author of ZORRIE and NEVERHOME
"Audaciously prophetic. Here’s a near-future and all too plausible southern noir in which the lawlessness already creeping into American democracy has become the norm and in which preachers have abandoned Christ and instead are searching for the new climate Messiah, and the line between good and evil is not only very thin but completely effaced. A rollicking good (dark) read."—Brian Evenson, author of LAST DAYS
"Man, did I like this one. Southern, wet and gritty. Storm-filled and laced with fear and tension, as well as realistic and engaging characters, I found this world grimly enticing.”—Joe R. Lansdale, author of The Thicket and the Hap & Leonard Mysteries
“An exceptional storyteller…Smith is building his own Faulkner-esque universe.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"In this evocative noir of the Mississippi Delta... Smith perfectly depicts a landscape of dwindling resources and limited prospects, where crime turns out to be the most expedient solution. There’s plenty of human drama in this gritty literary thriller."—Publishers Weekly
"A storm-tossed and demagogue-haunted book, set in a land of strip malls and thrift stores, in which a mother and child struggle to make their way through the literal and metaphorical dark."—John T. Edge, Garden & Gun
"This novel is as gritty as gravel. Gritty as in uncompromising. Gritty as in muddy river-sand in the eye, as in clenched, coffee-stained teeth. . . For fans of Southern gothic noir novels featuring humanity at both its best and its worst, readers need look no further than 'Salvage This World.' An illustrator of dark, light and all the gray in between, Michael Farris Smith is in peak form." —John Caleb Grenn, The Clarion-Ledger