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The State of Stony Lonesome

This book was published the year that Jessamyn West died, and it appears that it was printed posthumously. As a result, a bittersweet tale of life in rural California becomes even more bittersweet because there are no Jessamyn West books after this one. There may be one or two I haven’t completely finished, and some stories I haven’t ferreted out, But I think this was the last JW novel I hadn’t yet even started

The story reads a bit like South of the Angels -- a small rural farming town, a bunch of interesting characters, not all good, not all bad -- and some thigns that happen to them. it all sounds quite prosaic and perhaps in a lesser writer’s hands it would be but West manages to really wring depth and character out of even the most dull-seeming individuals: the postmistress, the local toughs, the little brother character. Some of these people seem modelled on West’s own family and seem more like archetypes from many of her stories instead of just single characters in a single story.