Jayne Anne Phillips

Quiet Dell

The Associated Press calls Quiet Dell “an extraordinary achievement, a mesmerizing blend of fact and fiction that borrows from the historical record, including trial transcripts and newspaper accounts, but is cloaked in the shimmering language of a poet.”   Publishers Weekly lists it as one the “best new books for the week of Oct. 14, 2013,” while the Los Angeles Review of Books  describes Quiet Dell as “a tricky yet compelling and successful melding of truth and fiction.” The Wall Street Journal says that “Phillips had her work cut out for her when she decided to retell the story and transcend the bloody spectacle to find, as one character puts it, ‘beauty arisen from devastation.’”

The “bloody spectacle” and “devastation” referred to by the Journal are the real-life basis of the novel: the 1931 murders of a woman and her three children, the victims of serial killer Harry Powers, in Phillips’ home state of West Virginia. Phillips, director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Rutgers-Newark, “grew up hearing the story of Quiet Dell as a myth or even a ghost story...” 

Phillips is the author of four other novels, Lark & Termite , Motherkind, Shelter, and Machine Dreams, and two collections of stories, Fast Lanes and Black TicketsShe is the founding director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University, Newark.

Reviews of Quiet Dell

The Associated Press

Chicago Tribune

Tampa Bay Times

Miami Herald

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Boston Globe

Philadelphia Review of Books

The New York Times Book Review