“They had been told their sacrifice was for the public good. They were never told how much they would miss it, or for how long.”
Drowned Town explores the multigenerational impact caused by the loss of home and illuminates the joys and sorrows of a group of people bound together by western Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes and the lakes that lie on either side of it. The linked stories are rooted in a landscape forever altered by the mid-twentieth-century impoundment of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and the seizing of property under the power of eminent domain to create a national recreation area on the narrow strip of land between the lakes. The massive federal land and water projects completed in quick succession were designed to serve the public interest by providing hydroelectric power, flood control, and economic progress for the region — at great sacrifice for those who gave up their homes, livelihoods, towns, and history.
The narrative follows two women whose lives are shaped by their friendship and connection to the place, and their stories go back and forth in time to show how the creation of the lakes both healed and hurt the people connected to them. In the process, the stories emphasize the importance of sisterhood and family, both blood and created, and how we cannot separate ourselves from our places in the world.
PRAISE FOR DROWNED TOWN
“There is a fierce current of remembrance that pulses within these stories, which will not allow a Cumberland River community to be erased by water or time. Jayne Moore Waldrop is a very talented writer and in Drowned Town she vividly renders the human cost of what those in power call progress.” — Ron Rash
Jayne Moore Waldrop, a western Kentucky native, is the author of Retracing My Steps, a finalist in the 2018 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Contest, and Pandemic Lent: A Season in Poems. Waldrop’s work has appeared in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Still: The Journal, Appalachian Review, New Madrid Review, Deep South Magazine, New Limestone Review, Women Speak, and other literary journals. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky.