Lee Smith's new novel, "Guests on Earth", gives a detailed look at the Highland Hospital in Asheville NC during the time Zelda Fitzgerald was in and out of the facility. As we follow main character, Evalina Toussaint, thru almost half of her life at the hospital, she flows from patient to staff and back, ending with staff. Her traumatic childhood led to her admittance to the Hospital when her mother dies. She finds solace in the hospital and discovers her musical talent on the keys of the director's baby grand piano. When she goes to school for her talent, she makes decisions that lead to her return to the hospital.
As the book gives us a look at the local landmarks we know, the story carries us thru the book at a quick pace to find out what is going to happen next.
The rich and famous use this Asheville hospital along with the not so famous. The Highland Hospital is on the cutting edge of mental health at its time. The book follows our fictional characters along with Zelda Fitzgerald and one of the RJReynolds heirs with their stay and treatment at the hospital.
I really enjoy Lee Smith's novels. She transports you to the time and place in Asheville. The characters and places set the scene for a truly enjoyable story. She said she researched this novel, and with the fire at the hospital and the exciting ending, the book leaves you wanting to know more of the lives of the Eva and her friends.