Better World Books Podcast: Gin Phillips

THE WELL AND THE MINE is the story of a family living in an Alabama coal mining town in the 1930s.  The story begins when nine-year-old Tess watches from the darkness of her back porch as an unknown woman lifts the cover off the family well and tosses a baby in without a word.

As Tess struggles at first to be believed and then later to find the “Well Woman” the family and the town struggle to survive the difficult and complex time they live in.

The book tackles the racism and sexism of the time period as well as the immensely difficult lives of coal miners and their families.  It does all this with a grace and fluidity that make it feel like more of a classic than a debut novel.

Gin Phillips is as thoughtful in person as she is in her writing.  She came by our offices while on tour for the book and we had a great conversation about how the story came about and why she chose to tell it from multiple perspectives.   I picked up on some dualities in the book that Gin had not even realized were there but was pleased to discover.  You’ll have to give it a read and see if you saw what I did!

— Dana Barrett, Podcast Host


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