Curley is a novel based on the life of Russell Norris, a Cherokee Indian from the Qualla Boundary reservation in Western North Carolina. After Russell and his family move from the reservation to Cramerton, North Carolina, a textile mill town, Russell's father takes a job as a foreman in the Cramer Cotton Mill. When Russell is only fifteen-years-old, his father dies, leaving the responsibility of raising and supporting the family on Russell's young shoulders. Determined not to die in the same mill as his father, Russell packs his guitar and hits the road, supporting his mother and four brothers by playing music throughout the southeastern United States. Traveling and working in the Depression-era south, Russell is forced to confront racism and his own battle with alcoholism. Ultimately, this is a story of courage, hope, and redemption.