2017 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest Winner

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Amidst This Fading Light

 by Rebecca Davis 

A Beautifully Crafted Southern Gothic Tale

A SHOCKING TRAGEDY follows an unstable family to a foothill town mired in tradition and hearsay, and challenges the bucolic hamlet’s unwritten code. Once the Pickett family’s demons unmask themselves to the citizens of Germantown, the isolated Piedmont villagers are forced to navigate the brutal upshots of violence and trauma. Collectively, they must face hard lessons about the traumatic unpredictability of life and death that shakes it to the core. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Davis’s riveting historical fiction captures the timeless ripples of adversity that enshroud the human experience. The winner of the 2017 Southern Fried Karma novel contest provides a penetrating mosaic of one community’s struggle to cope with the unimaginable.

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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