A finalist for the 2019 Weatherford Award in Fiction, Weedeater is a contemporary story of love and loss told by a pair of eastern Kentucky mountaineers: Gene, the lovelorn landscaper who bears witness to the misadventures of a family entangled in drugs, artmaking, and politics, a family beset by both environmental and self-destruction; and Dawn Jewell, a young mother “searching” for lost family members, lost youth, lost community and lost heart. Picking up six years after the end of Robert Gipe’s acclaimed first novel, Trampoline, in Weedeater, the reader finds Canard County living through the last hurrah of the coal industry and the most turbulent and deadly phase of the community’s battle with opioid abuse. The events Gipe chronicles are frantic. They are told through a voice by turns taciturn and angry, yet also balanced with humor and stoic grace. Weedeater is a story about how we put our lives back together when we lose the things we thought we couldn’t bear losing, how we find new purpose in what we thought were scraps and trash caught in the weeds.
Meet the Author
Robert Gipe won the 2015 Weatherford Award for outstanding Appalachian novel for his first novel Trampoline. His second novel is Weedeater (2018). Both novels were published by Ohio University Press. From 1997 to 2018, Gipe directed the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Appalachian Program in Harlan. He is a producer of the Higher Ground community performance series. Gipe formerly worked at Appalshop, an arts center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Gipe grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee and resides in Harlan, Kentucky.