"She had to believe that a world could exist for them, even if they had to make it for themselves."
For a Little Patch of Ground is a love-story set in Georgia from the years 1933 to 1967. The novel chronicles the lives of John Byron, a White man, and Sistine Young, a Black woman, who act in defiance of History to create a home for themselves and their children.
John and Sistine come of age in the cloistered Appalachian mining-community of Long Swamp. There moonshinin’, preachin’, and the trials of childhood tether their separate worlds. It is her orphaned cousin, Bill Bradley, who brings Sistine and John together. However, after John’s grandfather dies, an act of racial-violence shatters their community. This causes John and Sistine to leave the mountains with their unborn child, settling in Mosley, GA. In this small Southern town, a new iteration of hatred threatens their very existence. The powers which uphold Mosley’s Confederate monument force this couple to choose between the construction of Race and the building of Family. In the end, John and Sistine discover that love is the intimacy that endures.
Told in the third-person omniscient, For a Little Patch of Ground weaves together thirty-four years of life in the American South. It is a non-linear narrative that reimagines the Hero’s Journey as a confrontation with White supremacy. The novel uses the poetry of “Ole Time Religion” to illustrate the necessity of redemption. Ultimately, this story expresses that the spirit of joy and freedom lies within the human heart. While told on an epic scale, at its core this novel is just a love story.
For A Little Patch of Ground was influenced by Absalom, Absalom !Cane, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. The novel is similar to Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing , Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. The manuscript is complete.