Low Country: A Southern Memoir by J. Nicole Jones
“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.
"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
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.