|Lee Maynard Photo by Huntington Herald-Dispatch|
Until Lee Maynard's recent death on June 16, 2017, I had never read any of his work. Maynard was, and will always be, a controversial figure in the world of literature in West Virginia and Appalachia. His first published work, "Crum", was actually banned from sale for a time at the Tamarack Center in Beckley, WV, due to its perceived extreme negativity to Crum, WV, Maynard's hometown, and to West Virginia and Appalachia in general. Most of the West Virginia and Appalachian writers who have been my mentors and friends also held Maynard in contempt for the same reason. We rarely, if ever, discussed him or his work. And generally, to a person, we never bothered to read his work. Coincidentally, Maynard's death occurred just a few days before my 25th anniversary with my wife Candice and we had already planned a three day trip to West Virginia where we had been married. I made a commitment to read some of the work of Lee Maynard based on some positive comments my friend, Cat Pleska, had made in an obituary which was published in the Huntington Herald Dispatch the week of his death. Luckily, the first of his books which I read was "The Pale Light of Sunset: Scattershots and Hallucinations In An Imagined Life", a collection of essays and selections from other books which I consider to be some of his best work. It also lacks much of the negative discussion of West Virginia and Appalachia which is prevalent in much of his other work including "Screaming With The Cannibals" which is actually the work we are discussing in this review. I will repeat my prior statements and say that I might well have not read any more of his work if "Crum" had been the first of his books to receive my attention.