FEATURED EBOOK

Lisa Alther’s classic coming-of-age novel set amidst the changing times of the 1960s American South

Growing up in Tennessee in a family of privilege, Ginny Babcock’s world is seemingly idyllic. Her father, the Major, runs the local plant—and, thus, the town—and her mother works on beloved home movies, or “kinflicks,” as her children call them, documenting the quintessential moments of her children growing up. But her mother’s camera isn’t there to capture Ginny’s growing rebellion against her prim Southern upbringing. From her backseat exploits as a popular high schooler, to her late night adventures at the moonshine joint with a greaser boyfriend, to her passionate days with a lover at the militant feminist commune in Vermont, Ginny throws herself into the moment—until, finally, she must return home and look after her ailing mother. Funny, wise, and filled with unforgettable characters, Kinflicks is a captivating novel that draws on the human fallout of turbulent times.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lisa Alther, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

ABOUT Lisa Alther

  • BIOGRAPHY

    For novelist Lisa Alther, as for so many of her fellow Southerners, the past is ever present, particularly in places like Kingsport, Tennessee, the small town where she was born in 1944. One of five children, Alther grew up in a region of small farms and factories, surrounded by a close-knit Appalachian community. Her father was a second-generation town doctor, and her mother was a former English teacher from upstate New York. Another strong presence in her upbringing was her paternal grandmother, the founder of the Virginia Club and a pillar of the Southern way of life. Lisa attended public schools in Kingsport, taking her place in the marching band after an unsuccessful brush with flag swinging, living the life of a typical 1950s teen.

    Alther left Tennessee to attend Wellesley College and then went to New York after graduation in 1966 to work in book publishing at Atheneum. She moved to Vermont in 1968 to raise her daughter. In the years that followed, Alther began writing journalism. But, inspired by the great Southern women writers and storytellers, she also worked on novels and short stories. After many rejections, her first novel, Kinflicks, was published in 1976 to critical praise and became a bestseller.

    Kinflicks was the first of six bestselling novels.  The others were Original Sins (1980), Other Women (1984), Bedrock (1990), Birdman and the Dancer (1993), and Five Minutes in Heaven (1995). Alther also taught Southern fiction at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, and at East Tennessee State University.  She has produced one work of nonfiction, Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree. For Kinfolks (2007), she researched her family’s possible connection to the Melungeon people, a little-known population in eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia whose ethnic origins are unclear but may possibly be traced to Portuguese, Spanish, African, and Turkish settlers, soldiers, and sailors who may have integrated with Native American tribes in the seventeenth century.

    Alther has written novels set in both the South and in her adopted northern homeland. They feature a comic wit that addresses human foibles as gracefully as her more serious prose tackles weightier topics such as racism, feminism, domestic abuse, politics, and sexuality. Her work aims “to portray the human reality behind the cultural stereotypes, particularly those regarding women.”

    Having lived in London and Paris, Alther now divides her time among Tennessee, Vermont, and New York City.

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