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Town Smokes

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  150 ratings  ·  7 reviews
A widely hailed first collection of stories set mostly in the rural South.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published May 17th 1987 by Ontario Review Press
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Aug 15, 2007 Swaps55 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of southern lit
Shelves: southern-writers
Call me biased, as the author was my mentor/advisor/etc. in college, but he really is one of the best writers I've ever read, and taught me just about everything I know about how to not just write a story, but write a good one. They are full of southern/appalachia flavor, so if you are a fan of southern writers you absolutley must have this on your shelf.
Town Smokes is a book of short stories, which often centered on the interactions between rural people and animals—which particularly interested me. We see occasional compassion, such as that of a family that became too attached to the rabbits they bred to sell them for meat, but the majority of these interactions are characterized by the casual cruelty of a man scooping up fleeing crawdads and dumping them into a boiling pot. This is a world of shooting harmful-only-to-rodents black snakes and j ...more
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
His prose is good, but the first and last stories ("The Sutton Pie Safe" and "Town Smokes") are the only ones that move beyond chatter and shoot toward real insight. "Town Smokes" (the story, not the collection) was particularly effective, dark, and fatalistic, moving from the mundane towards something far more haunting, timeless, even allegorical. That story alone makes the collection valuable, but no one should mistake this for Breece Pancake. It appears that Benedict crafts stories about a pe ...more
This is another book I'd grab upon fleeing my burning house. I am stingy with my books, but this is one I loan and sometimes give to people I love. In fact, who has it right now? I want it back. Ple-ee-ase...
A couple amazing stories and some just so so. Almost all the stories involve the relationship between people and animals in the south. I found that interesting. The Pie Safe was my fav.
Charles White
"The Sutton Pie Safe" and "Town Smokes" are both excellent stories. Many of the others seemed to lack something for me.
Benedict's true expertise seems to be the short story.
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Pinckney Benedict (b. 1964) is an American short-story writer and novelist whose work often reflects his Appalachian background.

Benedict grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. He graduated from Princeton University, where he studied primarily with Joyce Carol Oates, in 1986, and from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1988.

He has published three col
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