"From horse thieves to hurricanes, from shattered Southern myths to fractured family ties, from Nashville to Myrtle Beach to Miami, Low Country is a lyrical, devastating, fiercely original memoir" of one family's changing fortunes in the Low Country of South Carolina (Justin Taylor, author of Riding with the Ghost).
J. Nicole Jones is the only daughter of a prominent South Carolina family, a family that grew rich building the hotels and seafood restaurants that draw tourists to Myrtle Beach. But at home, she is surrounded by violence and capriciousness: a grandfather who beats his wife, a barman father who dreams of being a country music star. At one time, Jones's parents can barely afford groceries; at another, her volatile grandfather presents her with a fur coat.
After a girlhood of extreme wealth and deep debt, of ghosts and folklore, of cruel men and unwanted spectacle, Jones finds herself face to face with an explosive possibility concerning her long-abused grandmother that she can neither speak nor shake. And through the lens of her own family's catastrophes and triumphs, Jones pays homage to the landscapes and legends of her childhood home, a region haunted by its history: Eliza Pinckney cultivates indigo, Blackbeard ransacks the coast, and the Gray Man paces the beach, warning of Hurricane Hazel.
About the Author
J. Nicole Jones received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University, and has since held editorial positions at VICE magazine and Vanity Fair. Her viral essay defending the art of memoir, "Why's Everyone So Down on the Memoir?" was published by the Los Angeles Review of Books and Salon, and her reviews and other writings have appeared in magazines including Harper's. She grew up in South Carolina, and now lives in Brooklyn and Tennessee.
An Electric Literature Most Anticipated Debut of the Year A Write or Die Tribe Most Anticipated Book of the Year A Rumpus Most Anticipated Book of Next Year
"As ex-pat Southerners often tend to do, Jones looks homeward in this lyrical, evocative memoir that explores her family’s volatile past filled with violence and financial highs and lows, set against a landscape haunted, literally and figuratively, by its history." ––Suzanne Van Atten, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, A Most Anticipated Southern Book of the Year
"Ghosts and legends swirl in an affecting family memoir . . . A captivating debut . . . [Jones'] confidential asides to readers create a genuine sense of intimacy. Lyrical prose graces a deftly crafted narrative." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A Southern song of love and loss rendered in language both gossamer and precise, Low Country is what happens when one family's dreams, gossip and ghost stories meet the only writer capable of weaving them together. Harrowing, beautiful and bold, the music of this memoir lingers long beyond the last page." —Allie Rowbottom, author of JELL-O Girls
"From horse thieves to hurricanes, from shattered Southern myths to fractured family ties, from Nashville to Myrtle Beach to Miami, Low Country is a lyrical, devastating, fiercely original memoir. It’s a fever dream from which you will not want to be awakened and one hell of a debut book." —Justin Taylor, author of Riding with the Ghost
"Low Country is essential reading for anyone who has ever felt in-between or grappled with multiple truths about their homeland. J. Nicole Jones loves and indicts the rich and unique South Carolina culture that made her, offering a portrait of an American region that produces a double bind familiar to many: impossible to stay, impossible to leave." —Emma Copley Eisenberg, author of The Third Rainbow Girl
"Low Country is an enthralling book, with sentences so stunning they should be memorized. Mocked by prep-school kids for talking 'like a hick' and then chided by her nana for talking 'like a Yankee,' J. Nicole Jones explores her Southern roots, her attempts to leave them, and her return. Her writing about betrayals and love (there is so much love)—bound with stories of ghostly land and seascapes—is brilliant. Having read this book, I know that if she wrote a book about lint, I’d read it. I'd read anything by Jones." —Jeannie Vanasco, author of Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl
"Low Country transported me into a corner of the South, the gleaming shores of the Carolinas, that I know well. But every sentence Jones spun made a familiar place new again. This is a beautiful seance that brings family ghosts back to life and tells not just the story of a country music-singing, Myrtle Beach-famous lineage but of an entire region. A big-hearted book. I didn't want it to end." —Genevieve Hudson, author of Boys of Alabama