A Twilight Reel: Stories by Michael Amos Cody
"A Twilight Reel is a vivid portrait of a community in an age of rapid change. Some citizens are angered, and some more tolerant of the clash of the past with the future in the uncertain present. Michael Amos Cody is one of the most authentic and inspired voices in contemporary Appalachian fiction, addressing such subjects as AIDs, bias, troubling history, marriage, ghosts, dementia, and abiding loyalty and love. In these linked stories he speaks for both the region and the world beyond."
—Robert Morgan, NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and author of Chasing the North Star
"What wonderful stories these are, rooted in mountains I know so well! Michael Amos Cody blends traditional and modern elements, wry humor, spooky darkness, and his intimate knowledge of the region to bring us a deftly rendered Appalachian story cycle. Each of these stories sings its own song, but when read together they are even stronger, offering a symphonic, nuanced portrayal of our contemporary Southern Highlands. Expertly crafted with memorable characters and sharp-eyed details, this is a real gem."
—Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface
"In A Twilight Reel, Michael Amos Cody has produced a collection of Southern Appalachian tales woven together by geography, time and a blend of truly fascinating characters. For those who wish to understand contemporary Appalachia—with its crazy quilt blend of past, present, and future—I cannot recommend A Twilight Reel highly enough! Savor each of these stories in turn and then marvel at the world they together make."
—Terry Roberts, author of A Short Time to Stay Here and That Bright Land
Each of the twelve stories in A Twilight Reel chronicles a transformation—loss, self-discovery, renewal—among the inhabitants of the fictional town of Runion, NC.
A preacher held at knifepoint in a stranger’s cabin, another who absconds with his church’s funds and the wife of a parishioner; an elderly woman who slowly goes mad as she freezes to death; a renowned fiddler who returns home to die of AIDS; a gravedigger more comfortable with the dead than the living....
Sinful or righteous, imbued with hope or beyond redemption, each of these memorable characters struggles to endure, survive, or triumph over unplanned encounters with the people, forgotten or remembered, admired or scorned, who beset their lives.
These narrative threads are masterfully woven into the tapestry that is A Twilight Reel—a book full of surprises, dark fears, and unexpected humor, that echoes and distills the travails of any people, in any place.
Michael Amos Cody teaches in the Department of Literature and Language at East Tennessee State University. He grew up in Madison County, NC, and lives with his wife Leesa in Jonesborough, TN. He previously wrote about Runion in his 2017 novel Gabriel’s Songbook.