Digging Up The Bones, by Dale Marlowe

Digging Up The Bones,
by Dale Marlowe


This collection of linked stories follows the curses of a father, visited upon the Nash family over the course of three generations, spanning the 1960’s to the present. In rich, moving episodes, readers engage the lives of stunned-straight racists, scarred veterans, doomed lovers, would-be assassins, gun-toting grandmothers, nascent female crime-bosses, ambivalent mourners, big-time drug-running, and bewildered survivors trying to make sense of it all. This is not a family—it’s a world; this is not a book—it’s an indictment; these words are not written—they’re howled.


Digging Up The Bones presents a family as frightening and mythologically tragic as it is endearing and full of raw vitality. The Nashes are a wild, cursed, driven, Dionysian, conflicted, inspired bunch of people rooted in a specific place, Kentucky, even as their collected stories show them to be seamlessly woven into the tale of America over the past 50 years. Here you will find the ravages of addiction and the burden of legacy and the purpose of revenge and the resonance of belonging and the troubled peace of burying what is dead in body, if not in spirit. Marlowe has created a world at once strange and familiar, where love and violence move in lockstep, and where the sound of one family’s barbaric yawp echoes over rooftops and reminds us of our own. This is a brave, brilliant book.”

—Josh Emmons, author of The Loss of Leon Mead

Digging Up The Bones is one of the most gorgeous and wrenching books I’ve read in years. In the tradition of Jayne Anne Phillips and Dan Woodrell, Marlowe has given us a cast of unforgettable characters marked by abuse, addiction, and—against all odds—hope. The prose is glass clear, the humor is dark, and the story is as sweeping—and as strong—as the Kentucky hills.”

—Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi and Remember Me Like This

Nothing stays buried in Dale Marlowe’s Digging Up The Bones In this series of linked stories, the Nash family comes roaring off the page; these are characters who struggle with the generational brutalities of the American working poor, and—in doing so—show us human nature at its weakest, at its most vulnerable and most raw.”

—Peyton Marshall, author of Good House

Dale Marlowe’s Digging Up The Bones sets loose upon the world the Nashes, a family decimated by poverty, drugs, and a patriarch whose only means of connecting to those he should love most is through violence and abuse. Marlowe adeptly weaves a complex tale of the ways in which the often horrific behavior we heap upon each other reverberates across generations. His prose is harshly lyrical, demanding and dynamic, and evokes with exquisite accuracy this Kentucky holler from which no one emerges unscathed.”

—Collette Sartor

Dale Marlowe is an author, professor, and attorney. He graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2002. He lives in Tipp City.
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