'Reading Bethany W Pope is like being possessed. Lucious, visceral and fierce, the language pulses to bring the swamplands to life. Southern Gothic at its finest, The Hungry and the Lost slices through the darkness of progress and holds up the hearts that get crushed on the way. Not to be missed... I haven't felt this way since I read Jane Eyre. Dark, lavish and pulsing with luminous imagery, Pope is a master of Southern Gothic. A fever burns through every line of this book, a dark swamp of business, myth and belief, I couldn't put it down. Utterly absorbing.' - Angela Readman (author of Something like Breathing)
The herons have departed, leaving behind mangrove-tea waters, silt, the faint tang of salt... All that remains are the people, fewer of them every summer, clouds of mosquitoes.
Edwardian Florida. The swamplands of Tampa provide a tough but good living for those men hardy enough to brave the weather and the wildness. When illness sweeps the area and the local minister dies, his widow Rose succumbs to madness. His daughter Joy struggles to keep them both alive in what has become a skeleton town, rotting into the swamp and abandoned by all but the most ruthless.
The arrival of the Johnson family – cruel, greedy, cunning – signals the end of innocence for Joy. She must learn new ways of survival to keep herself and her mother safe.
Rich with visceral imagery, The Hungry and the Lost pits the worlds of myth and tradition against the rational grip of progress and modernity.
Bethany W. Pope is a British-American who currently lives in China. Pope's work includes the poetry collections A Radiance, Undisturbed Circles and The Rag and Boneyard, and a novel entitled Masque.