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Smote reads like an apparition that haunts a racially segregated American South, told through the eyes of a boy confronted by ghosts. Kimbrell presents a landscape of apartment complexes, featureless bars, shotguns, unemployment, and chemically tainted creeks. In language that combines the lushness and comic candor of Faulkner and O’Connor, Kimbrell’s formal mastery tempers an elegiac book.