New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash returns with a new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. A chronicle of a single mother's struggle for her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.
“A powerful book that speaks to contemporary concerns through historical injustice… Cash vividly blends the archival with the imaginative… With care and steadiness, (Cash) has pulled from the wreckage of the past a lost moment of Southern progressivism. Perhaps fiction can help us bear the burden of Southern history.”
- New York Times Book Review
"[I]n his fine new novel Wiley Cash breathes fresh life into the subject while also offering insight into a particularly fraught moment in US history. The Last Ballad is simultaneously the evocation of an exemplary individual and the portrait of an era."
- The Guardian
"Powerful and poignant [...] Wiley Cash’s third and best novel."
- Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"With his vibrant imagination, vigorous research, and his architectural skill in structuring this novel, Wiley Cash has lifted the events of the past into the present and immortalized a time that holds valuable lessons for our country today."
- The Charlotte Observer
"Beautifully and evocatively written, “The Last Ballad” should take a place on the honor roll of Southern fiction that will stand the test of time."
- Greensboro News and Record
"In Cash’s capable hands, this novel resonates with hard truths about our past and present. What glimpses it can also offer toward the future is entrusted to the readers who will hear the heartrending lament of the courageous Ella May Wiggins once more."
- Charleston Post and Courier
"His prose educates and moves, deftly juggling fact and fiction.
- New York Journal of Books
"This suspenseful, moving novel is a story of struggle and personal sacrifice for the greater good that will resonate with readers of John Steinbeck or Ron Rash."
- Publishers Weekly
“Inspired by the events of an actual textile-mill strike in 1929, Cash creates a vivid picture of one woman’s desperation. . . . A heartbreaking and beautifully written look at the real people involved in the labor movement.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“A promising young voice in Southern Fiction ... [Cash] writes with earnestness and great sympathy.”
- Library Journal
"There's hardscrabble, and then there's no-scrabble, when everything in the world is stacked against you. The Last Ballad does honor to those no-scrabble mill workers in North Carolina who risked their lives in 1929 to go on strike for a living wage and the chance at a decent life. Wiley Cash pulls no punches in this gorgeous, gut-wrenching novel, and that's entirely as it should be for a story of desperate people. In an era when American workers are besieged as they haven't been since the Great Depression, I can think of no more relevant novel for our times than The Last Ballad."
- Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"Lives are changed forever in this intimate and yet expansive novel about a real-life 1929 North Carolina mill strike. With subtlety and insight, Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world. Fraught with the turmoil of social change, The Last Ballad moves inexorably toward a devastating moment of reckoning. A timely and topical portrait of a community in crisis.”
- Christina Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World and Orphan Train
"The Last Ballad is the story of a beautiful and courageous woman, and it is beautifully and courageously told. Wiley Cash dares give voice to people lost in the margins of history, and he brings to life their inspiring fight for justice with graceful prose, honesty and intensity, and best of all, a wonderful bigness of heart."
- Lydia Peelle, author of The Midnight Cool