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Cementville has a breathtaking set up: 1969. A small Kentucky town, known only for its excellent bourbon and passable cement, direct from the factory that gives the town its name. The favored local sons of Cementville’s most prominent families all joined the National Guard hoping to avoid the draft and the killing fields of Vietnam. They were sent to combat anyway, and seven boys were killed in a single, horrific ambush.
The novel opens as the coffins are making their way home, along with one remaining survivor, the now-maimed town quarterback recently rescued from a Vietnamese prison camp. Yet the return of the bodies sets off something inside of the town itself a sense of violence, a political reality, a gnawing unease with the future and soon, new bodies start turning up around town, pushing the families of Cementville into further alienation and grief.
Paulette Livers is a Kentucky transplant to Chicago via Atlanta and Boulder, where she recently completed the MFA at the University of Colorado. Her work has appeared in The Southwest Review, The Dos Passos Review, Spring Gun Press, and elsewhere, and can be heard at the audio-journal Bound Off. Livers was awarded the 2012 Meyerson Prize for Fiction (for material from Cementville), and received Honorable Mention for the Red Hen Press Short Story Award (also for material from Cementville). This is her first novel.