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The End of Tennessee

A Memoir

Rachel M. Hanson

Published: Aug 20 2024




Published: Aug 20 2024

OA Ebook
Published: Aug 20 2024


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

A haunting memoir of childhood trauma, building a life, and living with wounds that never heal

"Not a year before I ran away from home at seventeen, I stepped out of the house at dusk, still able to see shrub oaks thinned out for winter, fame flower, too, and dun clay so wet the smell of it seemed settled in my skin." So begins Rachel M. Hanson's debut memoir about growing up impoverished, uneducated, and surrounded by violence. In lyrical, fragmented prose, she lays bare the impossible choice between self-preservation and her love for five younger siblings for whom she had become a second mother. As the years pass, Hanson struggles with guilt for leaving her siblings as she slowly realizes she could not save them. The End of Tennessee is a testament to a sister's love, resilience, and determination, a book for anyone who has left one life to create another.

Rachel M. Hanson's writing has appeared in literary journals, including Creative Nonfiction, The Iowa Review, and Joyland Magazine. She is assistant professor of English at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

"A book about disturbing experiences, related with cleareyed catharsis and memorable prose."—Kirkus Reviews

"A gut-wrenching story of resilience and survival, beautifully anchored through the ferocity of Hanson's attachments to those she loves. Gorgeous, terrifying, impossible to put down."—Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman and Red Grove: A Novel

"The End of Tennessee reminds me of the perfect pocketknife—sharp, clean, and always ready to save your life or cut you deep."—Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface: And Other Stories

"A shining reckoning of grief, love, abandon, and loss in Appalachia. Whistling like a crack and clear as crystal, I hear [Hanson] from every holler. The End of Tennessee will change you. Hanson is a real-deal gift."—Halle Hill, author of Good Women

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