Read a Q&A with Thom Vernon about The Drifts here.
Night is falling, and so is the snow. As the blizzard buries the ground, it uncovers the resentments, hopes, and aches of a small town in northeastern Arkansas, where, like in any Southern small town, there are unwanted pregnancies to agonize over, surgeries to be paid for and love to be made.
Julie’s two daughters have just run off to Hollywood to be famous when she suddenly finds herself, at forty-six, unexpectedly expectant. She’s not sure she can bear to be a mother again. And her husband, Charlie, won’t come home to talk it over with her.
Charlie wants another child more than anything, but he doesn’t know how to deal with Julie. His affair with Wilson, his best friend, is over, but he’s found a different and unusual kind of intimacy.
Wilson works in the Singer factory that keeps the town alive. She wants more than anything to be loved, but she knows that Charlie wasn’t the way to get there. She’s in love with Dol.
Dol is a transsexual, a divorced father of two children, who can’t afford the transition that would make his body make sense – although the doctors visiting from Atlanta might change that.
Their very different voices converge as the blizzard gathers force, their stories violently mapping in the snow the ways that memory, gender, and history carve themselves upon our bodies. The Drifts is dexterously told, a cacophony of four affecting voices melding into one exquisite chord.
'The Drifts is anything but adrift. It’s poignant, forceful, compelling, suspenseful and wry. Vernon is a gifted storyteller with an aptitude for psychological realism. This fine book is a distinct contribution to CanLit and a great contemporary twist on the Southern Gothic tradition.' Globe and Mail
‘An ambitious novel of drama and suspense mixed with gender and identity … This is a taut, tense work. Call it Arkansas Gothic.' Uptown Magazine