The Gone Dead

The Gone Dead

A Novel

Book - 2019
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An electrifying first novel from "a riveting new voice in American fiction" (George Saunders): A young woman returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father's life and death

Billie James' inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day--and she hasn't been back to the South since.

Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger.

Inventive, gritty, and openhearted, The Gone Dead is an astonishing debut novel about race, justice, and memory that lays bare the long-concealed wounds of a family and a country.

Publisher: New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2019]
ISBN: 9780062490698
Branch Call Number: FICTION BENZ
Characteristics: 293 pages ; 22 cm


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Micro Reviews: What are FCLS Librarians Reading?

FCLS Library Staff shares what they've been reading lately! The Truth and Other Lies, by Sascha Arango By Marcia Divack, Branch Group Administrator and Youth Services Lead If you enjoy dark comedies - highly recommended. The Truth and Other Lies The Gone Dead, by Chanelle Benz By Ellen Baxter, Adult Services Librarian Great read about a woman who returns to Mississippi to her inherited… (more)

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May 08, 2020

This is a wonderful book! I liked out for its well-rounded, believable characters, for its realistic plot, and for its evocative location descriptions.

Jan 07, 2020

A debut novel set in the Mississippi Delta to where Billie, a 30-year-old orphan returns when she inherits her father’s home. She looks into his suspicious death putting herself in danger, described as a “literary” crime novel. A la Faulkner, each chapter is from the point of view of a different character. Pretty dark, reminiscent of James Lee Burke.

ArapahoeStaff26 Oct 28, 2019

The personal and political are intertwined in this atmospheric murder mystery that takes place in Mississippi decades after the freedom riders and FBI have left.

Jul 21, 2019

The premise of this book sounded very interesting. However, by the halfway point of the book I was so bored out of my mind that I couldn't read another page. I really tried to get through this book but if a book can't grab you by the time you near the middle, then it's not going to. I should have quit reading it sooner than I did. I was just hoping it would improve. Alas, it did not.

JCLGreggW Apr 29, 2019

An intoxicating literary mystery about a young woman who inherits her childhood home in the Mississippi Delta after the death of her father, a poet who died under mysterious circumstances. Deeply rooted in the land's complex and layered history. Atmospheric, character-driven, and riveting.


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ArapahoeStaff26 Sep 27, 2019

"You been gone too long to have sense."
"Some of us want to live a life worth living."
"How you talking bout living when you're doing shit that's gonna get you dead? They ain't no Riders or reporters out here no more. The FBI is long gone."


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