Henderson's Second Novel a Must-Read

As a child, Eleanor Henderson used to listen to her father and grandparents tell stories about their time growing up on a farm in a small Georgia town. The stories reflected a mix of hard times and resilience, of challenges faced and the close bonds of family.

These themes run throughout Henderson’s second novel, The Twelve-Mile Straight. The title is also the name of the book’s fictional back road—a place that is the setting for an illegal distillery, chain gangs, and lynchings. In a press release, Henderson, an associate professor of writing at Ithaca College, stated she was trying “to capture the innocence of those country stories, and also to fracture it. I knew there was a darker narrative running alongside this one, like the quiet creek running along the Twelve-Mile Straight.”

The book has garnered widespread praise. Entertainment Weekly called it a “must-read,” and Booklist said the novel will “continue to haunt readers long after they finish the final page.”

Her debut novel, Ten Thousand Saints, was named one of the 10 best books of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and was made into a movie starring Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield, and Hailee Steinfeld.