Some called her the Everywhen Woman. She claimed to be 321 years of age. In 2038, after the big storm and the great flood and the bad times, Betty Baach wrote these words down and sometimes spoke them aloud, at her homeplace on Freon Hill. She referred to them as songs. All stories are songs, she’d always say.
Set in West Virginia, The Songs of Betty Baach is a magical guide to resisting despair and a compendium of wisdom and rhythms by which to fortify oneself. The lives of the Baaches of Keystone and the Knoxes of Mosestown twist and connect in a tale of survival and retribution that crosses three centuries—moving from Betty’s girlhood in colonial America to a future warped by environmental collapse and political unrest. Refusing the erasure of the lives of women, Indigenous peoples, and Black people who have always called this region home, this eloquent and distinctive novel is a necessary remedy for the continued distortion of a land and its inhabitants.
“‘Bend me your ear and I'll tell you a story about everything,’ begins the wondrous Songs of Betty Baach. A genre-bender, this illustrated book spans the complexity of the world: Is it a collection, novel, parable, song cycle? Our guide here speaks with such knowing, witty, sorrowing wisdom, the voice becomes both urgent and inevitable, hallmarks of our greatest literature.”—Edie Meidav, author of Another Love Discourse
“Brilliant . . . Taylor’s tuned to a visionary frequency you’ve never heard or imagined. Get ready to fly.”—Ann Pancake, author of Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley