A collection of ten essays, Appalachia North explores links between person and place. Beautifully written, the pieces examine memory and history, geology and humanity, and metaphor and narrative. Unlike a thesis-driven argument, each essay is a thinking-through that encourages one to imagine multiple possibilities. The form of the collection mimics what it reveals: to know a place or a person is to know each from many particular points of view, near and far.

Ferrence reveals the complexities of Appalachia as a place, a subject, and a wellspring of selfhood. Upending the usual definition of Appalachia as an isolated, poverty-stricken region below the Mason-Dixon line, he shows that identity, whether of a place or a person, is neither single, nor fixed; it contains multitudes (10). Seeking new ways to understand himself and his native region (10), he embraces western Pennsylvania as northern Appalachia, a “subset of a subset of America” (3)....

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