The Devil's DreamSimply marvelous. . . As much spirit as an old-time camp meeting, as close a power of observation as a ginseng hunter's, and all the affection for its subject matter that a fond maiden aunt has for a brand-new nephew. . . A classic, one that's fun to read." --Raleigh News and Observer
In 1990 Lee Smith won the Lyndhurst Prize to study country music, and her research resulted in The Devil's Dream (1992), yet another multi-generational family saga. The story of the musical Bailey family (loosely based, Smith says, on the legendary Carter family), it plumbs nearly a century's worth of history to tell the story of the family's most successful descendant, Katie Cocker, whose career flourishes once she hits Nashville.
But The Devil's Dream is really concerned with the problem of success, which, for Katie--as well as for other country musicians and perhaps for all of us--carries within it the genesis of failure. "What you want, of course, is to be successful," Smith says. "You're always singing of home, but you're never home. And there's something about that--I think I feel like that about a lot of things, this intense ambivalence."
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