Published in 1983, Oral History is Lee Smith's best-known and most complex novel. Spanning generations and featuring multiple narratives in diverse voices, Oral History is replete with irony. The mere title of this novel – “oral history” imprinted between book covers – is just the beginning. Set in the hills and “Hollers” of Appalachia in the Southeastern United States, this novel starts with a simple premise – a scholar's search for her roots – and proceeds to take the reader through a maze of twists and turns in both plot and character relationships. The story of the Cantrell family – more specifically, how the Cantrell family was “cursed” – is revealed through the distinct voices of relatives, n…

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Donohue, Cecilia. "Oral History". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 December 2002
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]