Excerpt from The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Last Ballad

by Wiley Cash

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash X
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 384 pages

    Jun 2018, 300 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Gary Presley
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Print Excerpt

She resisted the urge to lift these awful hands to her face and allow those fingers to feel what waited there: the sunken, wide-set, dark eyes; the grim mouth that she imagined as always frowning because she did not believe she had ever smiled at herself when looking into a mirror, and she had only seen one photograph of herself in her lifetime, and she was certain that she was not smiling then. She recalled the photograph of a younger version of herself taken more than ten\ years ago; she and John and baby Lilly posing for a traveling photographer inside the post office down in Cowpens, South Carolina. John with his arm thrown around Ella's shoulder, his face and eyes lit with the exaltation of the gloriously drunk, Lilly crying in her arms, what Ella knew to be her own much younger face blurred in movement as it turned toward Lilly's cries at the exact moment of the camera's looking. John had purchased the photo, folded it, and kept it in a cigar box that rattled with loose change and the quiet rustle of paper money when and if they had it. Ella had removed the photograph and gazed upon it from time to time over the years, but never to look at her own face. She'd only wanted to see the face of her firstborn, the girl who was now a tough, independent young lady who mothered her little sister and brothers more than Ella had the time or the chance or the energy to. John had left her—left them all, for that matter—over a year ago, and Ella assumed that he'd taken the cigar box with him because Lord knows he'd taken all that money, but the only thing that Ella missed now was the photograph.

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Excerpted from The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash. Copyright © 2017 by Wiley Cash. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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