"Kermit Turner's muscular story collection, A Matter of Blood, coheres almost tightly enough to be read as a novel, one of the kind now called a 'novel in stories.' It is a chronicle of hardscrabble rural and gritty small-town lives. The details are accurately, sometimes painfully, observed and the narrative is rendered in a dispassionate, artfully laconic style. The latter stories take place in later, more "improved,' times than do the earlier stories, so that Blood offers an overview of the changes in individual lives that take place in mid.twentieth-century America.
"Pungent, uncompromising, truthful, memorable: here is a strong, solid, eye-opening collection."
—Fred Chappell, prize-winning novelist, poet, and short-story writer; former NC Poet Laureate
Through the middle decades of the twentieth century a large Southern family struggles for economic security and social respectability. Hardships, disappointments, and catastrophes, ranging from the father's alcoholism to an accidental gun death, threaten to overwhelm even the most determined and resilient members of the Cooke family. The Cookes, along with other inhabitants of their rural community, must cope not only with personal weaknesses and conflicts but also with the changing world around them: the southeastern United States as it evolves from an agricultural to an industrial economy—a generational shift from farm to factory.
Kermit Turner has published fiction in various journals, including Roanoke Review, Greensboro Review, Phylon, Pembroke Magazine, NC Crossroads, Thomas Wolfe Review and Changes. For his short stories, he has received the Winthrop Writers' Conference Chapbook Award and the Linda Flowers Literary Award. His story "Masks," published in Phylon, was listed in Best American Short Stories as one of the "Distinguished Stories" of the year, and his story "Pool" was runner-up for the 2012 Thomas Wolfe Prize. He has also published a novel, Rebel Powers, and a collection of narrative poems, Sandy Ridge. A native North Carolinian, Kermit Turner lives in Hickory, NC.