In West Mills
by De'Shawn Charles Winslow
"A bighearted novel about family, migration, and the unbearable difficulties of love. Here's a cast of characters you won't soon forget." Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
"Winslow's impressive debut novel introduces readers to both a flawed, fascinating character in fiction and a wonderful new voice in literature." Real Simple, Best Books of 2019
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Winner of the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Named a Most Anticipated Novel by
TIME MAGAZINE * USA TODAY * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * NYLON * SOUTHERN LIVING * THE LOS ANGELES TIMES * ESSENCE * THE MILLIONS * REAL SIMPLE* HUFFINGTON POST * BUZZFEED
Let the people of West Mills say what they will about Azalea “Knot” Centre; they won't keep her from what she loves best: cheap moonshine, nineteenth-century literature, and the company of men. And yet, when motherhood looms, Knot begins to learn that her freedom has come at a high price. Low on money, ostracized from her parents and cut off from her hometown, Knot turns to her neighbor, Otis Lee Loving, in search of some semblance of family and home.
Otis Lee is eager to help. A lifelong fixer, Otis Lee is determined to steer his friends and family away from decisions that will cause them heartache and ridicule. After his failed attempt to help his older sister, who lives a precarious life in the North, Otis Lee discovers a possible path to redemption in the chaos Knot brings to his doorstep. But while he's busy trying to fix Knot's life, Otis Lee finds himself powerless to repair the many troubles within his own family, as the long-buried secrets of his troubled past begin to come to light.
Spanning decades in a rural North Carolina town where a canal acts as the color line, In West Mills is a magnificent, big-hearted small-town story about family, friendship, storytelling, and the redemptive power of love.