Smothermoss | Alisa Alering

Smothermoss | Alisa Alering

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264 pages | Tin House Books | 7.16.24

In 1980s Appalachia, sisters Sheila and Angie couldn't be more different. While their mother works long shifts at the nearby asylum, Sheila cares for their home and keeps to herself, even when enduring relentless bullying. Her fearless younger sister, Angie, is more focused on fighting imaginary zombies and creating tarot-like cards that seem to have minds of their own. When the brutal murder of two female hikers on the nearby Appalachian Trail stuns their small community, the sisters find themselves tangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Angie discovers a ripped, blood-soaked shirt; money Sheila's been stashing away disappears; and a strange man tries to barter with a woman's watch at a local store. As the threat of violence looms larger, the mysterious, ancient mountain they live on--and their willingness to trust each other--might be the only things that can save these sisters from the darkness consuming their home.

In turns both terrifying and otherworldly, author Alisa Alering opens the door to the hidden world of Smothermoss--a mountain that sighs, monsters made of ink, rabbits dead and alive, and ropes that won't come undone. Unsettling, propulsive, and wonderfully atmospheric, Alering's stunning debut novel renegotiates what is seen and unseen, what is real and what is haunted.

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