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The Ancient Hours (Paperback)
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"The Ancient Hours […] packs a wallop" —New York Times Book Review
"The Ancient Hours is brilliant.” —Bud Smith, author of Work
"Bible is a fantastic writer." —Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here
Harmony, North Carolina is a typical town—full of saints and sinners you can’t tell apart...
Its history echoes with lynchings and shootings; mob violence and vigilante justice. But those are just whispers of a past lost to time. The summer of 2000 was different. Iggy in the Baptist church. Gasoline and a match. Twenty-five people dead. This, Harmony couldn’t forget.
Told in a kaleidoscope of timelines and voices, Michael Bible examines every dimension of a tragic but all-too-American story in The Ancient Hours. The victims, witnesses, perpetrators, and condemned comingle and evolve as the passage of time works its way through their lives. What emerges is a fable of the American South in the highest tradition: soaring, tragic, and eternally striving for redemption.
About the Author
Michael Bible is originally from North Carolina. His work has appeared in the Oxford American, The Paris Review Daily, Al-Jazeera America, ESPN The Magazine, and New York Tyrant Magazine. He is a former bookseller at Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, and lives in New York.
"Michael Bible’s crystalline new novel, The Ancient Hours […] roams back and forth across time, plumbing crushed lives […] Bible beautifully captures the listless yaw of these outsiders as they search for meaning […] The novel shifts, polyphonic, between timelines, jig-sawing its narrative, revealing depths in the shallowest of characters. The Ancient Hours […] packs a wallop" —New York Times Book Review
"A deft novel, the book wraps a diverse community of characters together, while also blending religion, violence, and the consequences of our actions into a slim, rural-tongued package." —Ploughshares
"The Ancient Hours, in its purest form, is a story about the quest for family and what people are willing to sacrifice, both internally and externally, to achieve some semblance of community... Bible’s unique voice makes the story of a tragedy in Harmony a successful journey toward healing and community." —Chicago Review of Books
"A narrative of deep intimacy in which men and women reach for and sometimes find the places where they can reveal their truest selves... a short, electric read that follows young lovers on a knife’s edge walk between slacker rock daydream and modern nightmare." —Rain Taxi
"[B]oth morally serious and emotionally generous—lyrical yet unsentimental… Bible chronicles the wild ways people cope with the humiliating fact of being stuck in time, animals in captivity.… Bible’s artistry replaces the false promise of religion and turns time and its punishments into a sort of pleasure.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Vivid . . . well-written . . . Highlights in bracing clarity one town’s reckoning with a monstrous act." —Publishers Weekly
“Nobody else is on Michael Bible’s planet. He distills all the pain and joy of our lives into the most evocative music, the purest medicine. He’s one of our greatest living artists. The Ancient Hours is brilliant.” —Bud Smith, author of Work
"In The Ancient Hours Michael Bible brilliantly maps the innate pain of a Carolina town over time. Through an assemblage of complex characters—anarchists and outlaws, fractured families, and lonely librarians, Bible creates a harrowed history that interrogates our present moment. This slim masterpiece might be the book you’ve been waiting for.” —Ryan Ridge, author of New Bad News
"Bible's style is unique: swift, mythic without pretense, eccentric but focused." --Literary Hub
"Poetic and with flashes of brilliance . . . we have a promising new writer here." --NPR
"Bible's talent is such that he knows how to take scripture and bend and twist it into something that can exist in both heaven and hell... Bible is a fantastic writer." --Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang
"A singular new voice . . . [Michael Bible] is so open, so easy, so fluid, you'll smile with joy turning every page." --Barry Hannah, author of Airships
"Most contemporary fiction makes me wonder why people try to write anymore. Michael Bible helps me remember why." --Blake Butler, author of Alice Knott
"Michael Bible has the golden hand of Carson McCullers and the joyous cosmic heart of Richard Brautigan." --William Boyle, author of Gravesend and The Lonely Witness