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Garden & Gun Top Reads of 2023

Bibliolifestyle Best Literary Fiction of 2023

Southern Living Southern Writers to Read Right Now

“An exceptional storyteller in top form…Smith is building his own Faulkner-esque universe.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Michael Farris Smith bolsters his reputation as an intoxicating literary stylist…Salvage This World is a bruising, bracing read by a hell of a writer. If you consider life too short for uninspired sentences or nondescript locales, this book is for you.”

The New York Times Book Review

“With indelible imagery and elegiac prose, Salvage This World starts with the best set up ever and only gets tenser from there on out. Michael Farris Smith masterfully takes us on a ride into the growing darkness of a crumbling world. You couldn’t ask for better than that.”

Michael Connelly, bestselling author of the Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer series

“Finding a Michael Farris Smith novel is like walking alongside a wide, dark river at midnight and finding a hidden weapon in the weeds: gleaming in the night, deadly and dangerous…Those who stumble upon Salvage This World should know what lies in front of them is indeed very real, and that, upon discovery, they must tell someone about it.”


“With a cast of fierce, masterfully drawn characters set loose in gorgeous, hurricane-blasted landscapes, Salvage this World by Michael Farris Smith is riveting: I couldn't put it down.”
Laird Hunt, National Book Award-nominated author of Zorrie and Neverhome

“Michael Farris Smith melds fire and brimstone in this evocative noir of the Mississippi Delta... Smith perfectly depicts a landscape of dwindling resources and limited prospects, where crime turns out to be the most expedient solution. There’s plenty of human drama in this gritty literary thriller.”
Publishers Weekly

Man, did I like this one. Southern, wet and gritty. Storm-filled and laced with fear and tension, as well as realistic and engaging characters, this world is grimly enticing.”
Joe R. Lansdale, author of The Thicket and the Hap & Leonard Mysteries

Michael Farris Smith is in top form at the layered story’s breathtaking climax, masterfully guiding disparate variables from a slow burn to an incendiary ending with suspenseful detail, multi-sensory pacing, and a future open to interpretation. Salvage This World is a masterly drawn story.”

New York Journal of Books

"Apocalypse and salvation, destruction and renewal — Smith invokes religion throughout the novel, giving it a mythic dimension...The light may return, but only after a season of darkness. Salvage This World reads like a study of night in all its varieties — as clouds, as blindness, as eclipsed spirits — and of the moment when daylight finally reappears on the far horizon." 

Chapter 16

“Michael Farris Smith forcefully demonstrates what a stylist he is, delving deep into a suspense-laden, emotional story about people and a landscape on the edge.”

Orlando Sun-Sentinel

Audaciously prophetic. Here’s a near-future and all too plausible southern noir in which the lawlessness already creeping into American democracy has become the norm and in which preachers have abandoned Christ and instead are searching for the new climate Messiah, and the line between good and evil is not only very thin but completely effaced. A rollicking dark read.
Brian Evenson, author of Last Days

"A storm-tossed and demagogue-haunted book, set in a land of strip malls and thrift stores, in which a mother and child struggle to make their way through the literal and metaphorical dark."

John T. Edge, Garden & Gun

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