Digging Up the Bones

Digging Up the Bones

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This collection of linked stories follows the curses of a father, visited upon the Nash family over the course of three generations, spanning the 1960s 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.


“I couldn’t put it down. I don’t want to say it’s the best book I’ve read all year, because I am always suspect of that kind of hyperbole and after all I’ve only read a tiny fraction of what’s available anyway. Still: it’s the best book I’ve read all year. Don’t ask me to loan you my copy of Digging Up the Bones, I’ve already pressed it into the hands of a friend, with the assurance that it’s the genuine article, the good stuff, the work of an original and fierce intelligence to which attention must be paid. I hope he sells a few books. I hope he writes a few more.

—Arkansas Democrat Gazette


“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


“One of the most gorgeous and wrenching books I’ve read in years.”

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


“Nothing stays buried in Digging Up The Bones. 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


“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.”

—Colette Sartor