If the Creek Don’t Rise: A Novel
In her debut novel, If the Creek Don’t Rise, Leah Weiss takes a close look at the hard lives of a colorful cast of characters living in a remote Appalachia town called Baines Creek. The novel’s protagonist, Sadie Blue, is a newly married and pregnant teenager who decides she must find a way to escape from her abusive husband, Roy Tupkin. She relies on the help of others in town, including her loving Aunt Marris, optimistic preacher Eli Perkins, inspiring teacher Kate Shaw, loyal friend Tattler Swann, mysterious medicine woman Birdie Rocas, and secret admirer Billy Barnhill. In alternating first-person narrative, If the Creek Don’t Rise is an emotionally astute page-turner.
Weiss has an incisive ear for Appalachian dialect. Her writing provides a treasure trove of distinct, believable, and unforgettable characters, each one just as compelling as the rest; even the most unpleasant and despicable characters are portrayed with empathy, which speaks to the strength of Weiss’s deep understanding of the complex nature of humanity. The varied, deeply intimate perspectives from which the story is told pulse with sorrow, secrets, and hope. This affecting novel is an outstanding example of contemporary Southern fiction and is stunning all the way through the final punchy line.