AGAINST THE RUINS COVER:

This photograph is a window in one of the crumbling buildings of the now defunct South Carolina State Mental Hospital.

Linda Lightsey Rice's first novel

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE COVER:

This photograph is a home in the Low Country of South Carolina which still exists, and was built by, and once belonged to, my family. The photograph was taken by my cousin Doug Monts.

LLRice on Writing:


"Some days writing is like sitting in a babbling brook, where all I have to do is notice the colors and shapes and ideas floating all around me. Other days I have to march through the cold to a recalcitrant pump and yank the handle up and down to try to elicit a few dreary drops from a dried-up well. The exercise is good for me."

Literary Works

AGAINST THE RUINS
Winner of a St. Mar Arts Group publication award. A gripping drama of madness and prejudice in 1950s South Carolina, AGAINST THE RUINS takes a new and original look at how mental illness and wartime trauma affect entire families, a novel about the choices we often have to make that are so horrendous they really aren't choices at all. The book is about a woman forced to step outside her time to take care of herself and her child, and how that decision ultimately affects her marriage, her relationship with her daughter, and the rest of her life. At the book's dramatic conclusion, she finally reveals to her daughter the desperate pact she made with fate a half a century before.

Note: Click the title in yellow for more information about the book.

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE
Author's Guild Back-in-Print Edition, 2002, available. Previous editions: Doubleday hardback and Ballantine paperback. Soon to be available as an e-book.

A searing psychological drama set in the mystical Low Country of South Carolina. Eerie swamps, voudou rites, sudden violence, sexual longing. A couple in their thirties, Stoney McFarland and his photographer wife Anna--to escape city life--have returned to his small hometown of Essex just as the town experiences the first murder in its history. Chaos ensues as a place accustomed to safety discovers there is no safety in modern life. Stoney and Anna become emeshed in the chaos as a terrified town soon blames a mysterious African-American woman who lives nearby. The McFarland couple--struggling with a failing marriage--confront their own demons as the town, losing its innocence on a dark final night--discovers its propensity for bigotry and alienation.

". . . a somnolent South Carolina town whose awakening to evil is masterfully dramatized in this first novel. All the cliches of Southern gothic, from creepy houses to kinky sex, are placed on display but with a confidence--see, this is what they really meant all along--rarely seen since Faulkner's Sanctuary." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Rice's psychologically adept portrayal of a community suddenly forced to acknowledge evil, and her evocative use of atmospheric detail make this an auspicious debut."-Publisher's Weekly

"Rice's gracious style and strong visual imagery make this town so believable the pages almost sweat with the cloying humidity of the South she describes." -The Houston Chronicle

"Southern Exposure is as hot as the Low Country which inspired it. What a wonderful first novel." -Rita Mae Brown

Note: Click SOUTHERN EXPOSURE in yellow for more information on the book.

"Literary Life and Death: On Suicide and Salvation in a Life of Words"
Spectacle: Madness & the Creative Imperative, Pachanga Press, Vol.1, No.2

The suicide of acclaimed writer Michael Dorris occurs while the author is in residence at a writer's colony in New Mexico, where her 86-year-old neighbor is a persistent writer who has never published. The lives of these disparate writers adds up to a meditation on what it means to be a writer in a world which judges the artist by commercial success.

"Thistle Man"
HomeWorks Anthology, University of Tennessee Press.

Kara Manet, who later dies by jumping from a cliff in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, tells the story of a childhood experience with her father which made her aware of his psychological problems--especially his inability, owing to wartime trauma, to feel and to sustain love.

"The Hunger for MORE: The Alchemy of Sex, Landscape, and Literature"
A Minnesota Mentor Series Lecture, Sculpture Garden, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Literary writing as the alchemy of intense forces.



All images and text Linda Lightsey Rice

Selected Works

NOVELS
A family is torn apart by madness and prejudice in 1950s South Carolina. "Against the Ruins is gorgeous, lush writing that almost takes your breath away." --Natalie Goldberg
A psychological drama set in the mystical Low County of South Carolina in which a small town is devastated by its first confrontation with violence. "Southern Exposure is a terrific novel. . . ." --Pat Conroy
STORIES AND ESSAYS
Why do writers kill themselves? An essay about success and failure in the literary life. (Includes photos of New Mexico.) Read entire essay here.
An excerpt from an upcoming novel about a Tennessee family whose emotional connection to their landscape is as strong as the devastation, and subsequent mental instability, endured by the family patriarch during World War II. (Includes photos of Tennessee.)
PRESENTATIONS
Minnesota Mentor Series Lecture, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. (Includes photos of Minneapolis.)