Surface of Earth

Surface of Earth

Published in 1975, The Surface of Earth is the monumental narrative that charts the slow, inextricable twining of the Mayfield and Kendal families. Set in the plain of North Carolina and the coast and hills of Virginia from 1903 to 1944, it chronicles the marriage of Forrest Mayfield and Eva Kendal, the hard birth of their son, Eva's return to her father after her mother's death, and the lives of two succeeding generations.
The Surface of Earth is the work of one of America's supreme masters of fiction, a journey across time and the poignantly evoked America of the first half of our century that explores the mysterious topography of the powers of love, home, and identity. In his evocation of the hungers, defeats, and rewards of individuals in moments of dark solitude and radiant union, Price has created an enduring literary testament to the range of human life.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 512 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684813394 | 
  • May 1995
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Chapter 1

ABSOLUTE PLEASURES

MAY 1903


"Who told Thad she was dead?" Rena asked.

"Thad killed her," Eva said. "He already knew."

Their father -- from his rocker, almost dark in the evening -- said, "Hush your voices down. Your mother's on the way. And never call him Thad. He was her dear father, your own grandfather; and of course he never killed her."

Kennedy said, "He gave her the baby. The baby killed her. So I think he did justice, killing himself."

"Shame," their father said. He drew at his cigar. "I hope none of you lives to face such a choice." Another draw. "But one of you... see more

About the Author

Reynolds Price
Photo Credit: Sara Barrett

Reynolds Price

Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.

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