The Last Ballad
Debut on the Faber list from a prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author. Inspired by actual events, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression, with the emotional power of Cold Mountain and The Secret Scripture.
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Inspired by actual events, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression, with all the emotional power of Cold Mountain and The Secret Scripture
‘A powerful book that speaks to contemporary concerns through historical injustice… Cash vividly blends the archival with the imaginative.’ New York Times Book Review
For twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins life is tough. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with the only work she can find, the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina
When union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together.
Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family forever.
Paying tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers, The Last Ballad is lyrical, heartbreaking and haunting, and the novel which confirms Wiley Cash’s place among America’s finest writers.
A powerful book that speaks to contemporary concerns through historical injustice… Cash vividly blends the archival with the imaginative… With care and steadiness, (Cash) has pulled from the wreckage of the past a lost moment of Southern progressivism. Perhaps fiction can help us bear the burden of Southern history.
A heartbreaking and beautifully written look at the real people involved in the labor movement.
Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world. Fraught with the turmoil of social change, The Last Ballad moves inexorably toward a devastating moment of reckoning. A timely and topical portrait of a community in crisis.
This suspenseful, moving novel is a story of struggle and personal sacrifice for the greater good that will resonate with readers of John Steinbeck or Ron Rash.
In his third novel, the prizewinning author Wiley Cash brings to life the overlooked labour movement that shook early 20th-century America.
'Elegantly and movingly woven ... The Last Ballad is simultaneously the evocation of an exemplary individual and the portrait of an era.'
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