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The Ancient Hours

Michael Bible’s tragic and sublime third novel tells the story of a massacre in a small Southern town and expands into a heart-breaking meditation on guilt, trauma and redemption.

In Harmony, North Carolina, the earth is soaked in blood. Lynchings and hangings; mobs and vigilante justice. But all of that is just whispers of history, lost to time. The summer of 2000 was different. Iggy in the Baptist church. Twenty-five people dead. This, Harmony couldn’t forget.

Told in a kaleidescope of timelines and voices, Michael Bible takes the reader through all of the dimensions of one tragedy. The victims and witnesses, perpetrators and condemned comingle and evolve as the passage of time works its way through their lives.

A fable of the American South that calls to mind William Faulkner and Carson McCullers, this is Bible’s finest and most complex work yet. His broken and striving characters call out to the reader from the page and the moral stakes have never been higher or more finely wrought.

Michael Bible is originally from North Carolina. His work has appeared in the Oxford AmericanThe Paris Review DailyAl-Jazeera AmericaESPN The Magazine, and New York Tyrant Magazine. He is a former bookseller at Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, and lives in New York.