Cary Holladay

"The writing is so wonderful you keep going, enthralled, never wanting this gorgeous prose to end."
-- Bobbie Ann Mason, author of Shiloh

Horse People: Stories
A novel in stories about three generations of a family in Virginia's horse country. Chosen by Michael Griffith, editor, Yellow Shoe Fiction Series.

Set in pastoral horse country, the stories chronicle the lives of the Fenton family through the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. At the center of these interconnected stories is Nelle Fenton, a northern debutante who marries into the family and establishes herself as its matriarch.

Through these multi-generational stories, Holladay draws on the folklore and history of her native Virginia and examines the cultural, racial, gender, and economic tensions that pervaded the entire nation. As a result, Horse People considers a particular place and the life of an exceptional woman as indicative of the struggles of the larger community.

The Deer in the Mirror
Stories of hardship and ecstasy. A young widow romances a German immigrant while weighing a proposal from colonial governor Alexander Spotswood. Convicted of murdering her master, an enslaved woman is burned at the stake. A breakneck stagecoach ride gives a bricklayer’s apprentice the power to save or destroy his fellow passengers. An aging bachelor despairs of his marriage to a Confederate orphan. A beautiful girl joins the 1898 Alaska Gold Rush, charms a violent gangster, the real-life Soapy Smith, and figures out the secret of his fabulous wealth.

The Quick-Change Artist: Stories (Swallow Press / Ohio UP)
A Finalist for the 2007 John Gardner Award for Fiction, and a Finalist in the 2007 Virginia Literary Awards, The Quick-Change Artist is at once whimsical and hard-edged, dizzying in its matter-of-fact delivery of the fantastic. A work of fiction, the book includes real-life historical figures such as photographer Edyth Beveridge, veterinarian Polk Miller, and their friend, the adventurer John Cussons (1838-1912), who emigrated from England, lived with the Sioux, fought for the Confederacy, and shaped the village of Glen Allen, Virginia with the creation of Forest Lodge, a landmark hotel that dominated the life of the community.

The Palace of Wasted Footsteps (U of Missouri Press)
The Palace of Wasted Footsteps includes the award-winning story, "Merry-Go-Sorry," based on the West Memphis 3.

Other works by Cary Holladay




Selected Works

Louisiana State University Press 2013
Three generations of a family in Virginia's horse country.
Includes "Heart on a Wire," a story of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush, winner the Glimmer Train Fiction Open.
Set largely at a rural resort hotel, these 13 stories span 100 years of magic and passion.
"Holladay's stories are beautifully constructed, with sensuous, even wondrous images..." -- Linda Barrett Osborne

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