Screaming with the Cannibals, the much-anticipated sequel to Lee Maynards cult classic Crum, gets its title when the central character finds himself in an evangelical service in Kentucky on the other side of the Tug River from his native West Virginia. As the folks touched by the Spirit rave and howl, he remembers how, back in Crum, the folks used to tell him to stay on his side of the river, because the people on the other side were known to eat their children. And now, here he is in a Kentucky holy-roller church, screaming with the cannibals.
Since the first novel, our protagonist has visited the West Virginia holler where his family lived before he moved up to the greater sophistication of Crum, and there he discovers that his favorite uncle has disappeared from the face of the earth in a moonshining accident. He then meets the girl who makes the earth - or at least the hay loft - move for him, quite literally falling for her. From there he goes to Kentucky, and then to Myrtle Beach, where he gets hired as a lifeguard, although he cannot swim a stroke.
If Crum is (as many have said) West Virginias answer to J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, then Screaming with the Cannibals is Appalachia's response to John Updike's Rabbit Run.
Lee Maynard was born and raised in the ridges and mountains of West Virginia, an upbringing that darkens and shapes much of his writing. His work has appeared in such publications as Columbia Review of Literature, Kestrel, Reader’s Digest, The Saturday Review, Rider Magazine, Washington Post, Country America, and The Christian Science Monitor. Maynard gained public and literary attention for his depiction of adolescent life in a rural mining town in his first novel Crum and received a Literary Fellowship in Fiction from the National Endowment for the Arts to complete Screaming with the Cannibals. Maynard serves as President and CEO of The Storehouse, an independently funded, nonprofit food pantry in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He received the 2008 Turquoise Chalice Award in honor his dedication to this organization.