cover of book
by Glenn Taylor
University of Massachusetts Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-1-68575-023-7 | Paper: 978-1-62534-730-5
Library of Congress Classification PS3620.A9593S66 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.6


Some called her the Everywhen Woman. She claimed to be 321 years of age. In 2038, after the big storm and the great flood and the bad times, Betty Baach wrote these words down and sometimes spoke them aloud, at her homeplace on Freon Hill. She referred to them as songs. All stories are songs, she’d always say.

Set in West Virginia, The Songs of Betty Baach is a magical guide to resisting despair and a compendium of wisdom and rhythms by which to fortify oneself. The lives of the Baaches of Keystone and the Knoxes of Mosestown twist and connect in a tale of survival and retribution that crosses three centuries—moving from Betty’s girlhood in colonial America to a future warped by environmental collapse and political unrest. Refusing the erasure of the lives of women, Indigenous peoples, and Black people who have always called this region home, this eloquent and distinctive novel is a necessary remedy for the continued distortion of a land and its inhabitants.