Stay and Fight: Book summary and reviews of Stay and Fight by Madeline ffitch

Stay and Fight

by Madeline ffitch

Stay and Fight by Madeline ffitch X
Stay and Fight by Madeline ffitch
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2019
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

This hilarious, truth-telling debut upends notions of family, protest, and Appalachia, and forces us to reimagine an America we think we know.

Helen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and eager to carry out her boyfriend's ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, her boyfriend calls it quits. Helped by Rudy, her government-questioning, wisdom-spouting, seasonal-affective-disordered boss, and a neighbor couple, Helen makes it to spring. But Karen and Lily are expecting their first child, a boy, which means their time at the Women's Land Trust is over. So Helen invites the new family to throw in with her―they'll split the work and the food, build a house, and make a life that sustains them, if barely, for years. Then young Perley decides he wants to go to school. And Rudy sets up a fruit-tree nursery on the pipeline easement edging their land. Soon, the outside world is brought clamoring into their makeshift family.

Set in a region known for its independent spirit, Madeline ffitch's Stay and Fight shakes up what it means to be a family, to live well, to make peace with nature and make deals with the system. It is a protest novel that challenges the viability of strategic action. It is a family novel that refuses to limit the possibilities of love. And it is a debut that both breaks with tradition and celebrates it.

A rightful heir to great American novels from A Confederacy of Dunces to The Grapes of Wrath to LaRose, Stay and Fight takes you, laughing and thinking, into a new understanding of the American landscape and what it means to be free.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] remarkable and gripping debut...[that] skewers stereotypes and offers only a messy, real depiction of people who fully embody the imperative of the novel's title." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Ffitch has surely created one of the best child narrators in recent memory with the charming Perley. A cleareyed, largehearted take on the social protest novel." - Kirkus Reviews

"Stay and Fight makes the powerful argument that fighting within a family is necessary, formative; it's the practice that prepares us to fight for our families when the time comes. Hers is the fiercest, wisest book about parenting that I've read in a very long time." - Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles

"If Carolyn Chute and Larry Brown and Carson McCullers had a love child, it might be Madeline ffitch's brutal and brilliant debut novel, Stay and Fight. What a wise, funny, and shining story, born into the world just in time to teach us about friendship, hardship, self-reliance, and black rat snakes." - Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River

"Mythic and particular, domestic and political, modest and ambitious, strange and familiar, Stay and Fight is a radical and ferocious success. The book disturbs the legacy of a frontier literature, and it points the way to a fresh conception of the Great American Novel." - Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special

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Author Information

Madeline ffitch

Madeline ffitch co-founded the punk theater company Missoula Oblongata and is part of the direct-action collective Appalachia Resist! Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, Granta, VICE, and Electric Literature, among other publications. She is the author of the story collection Valparaiso, Round the Horn.

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