2017 Novel Contest Winner!
Amidst This Fading Light
by Rebecca Davis
Mired in tradition and hearsay, Germantown was dominated by a few old families and their influence from their founding. All that changed once the Pickett family came to town. No one was certain what to make of the strangers at first, and no one could have predicted what they’d bring with them. After the family brought unbelievable tragedy to the small town, those remaining were left with a hard lesson to learn. Set against the backdrop of the rural North Carolinian piedmont during the Great Depression, Amidst This Fading Light explores life, death, and what it means to carry on as people deal with what fate brings upon them, both the light and the dark, to persevere and survive or be swept away by time and inescapable memory.
The tragedy at the center of this novel is deftly handled: How are we to survive the worst that life puts in our paths? Rebecca Davis knows the place she writes about, from the groundwater to the angle of the overhead sun, and, lucky for us readers, she knows its people—and people everywhere—just as well. This is such a generous and carefully told book that it’s difficult to believe it’s the author’s first.
—Michael Parker, author of The Watery Part of the World and Everything, Then and Since
Rebecca Davis writes with a journalist’s detail, a historian’s wisdom, and a photographer’s understanding of shadows. Above all, she is a natural storyteller, evident on every page of her graceful debut. An intricate, sensitive tale of small-town murder, Amidst This Fading Light answers the question few mysteries ever ask: Who do we become in the wake of tragedy?
—James Tate Hill, author of Academy Gothic
This remarkable novel in stories is built around a devastating act of violence, but Davis’s empathy for her richly realized characters, her delicately realized prose, and her insights into human nature are the real draws. Amidst This Fading Light is an exciting debut, and Davis is a young writer to watch.
—Holly Goddard Jones, author of The Salt Line
About the Author
A native North Carolinian, Rebecca Davis decided in first grade to be a writer, after she wrote a story about becoming a paleontologist. She likes the idea of truth in story-telling—stories that are not only true about humanity but also sprinkled with historical realities, and that show the reader various facets of personal interaction. Inspired by a gruesome murder that occurred near her hometown of Germanton, NC in 1929, Rebecca wants readers to feel the gravity of tragedy, yet still feel the potential for growth and hope. She attended Salem College and earned master’s degrees from Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Currently, she teaches writing at Salem College.
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