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Sinners of Sanction County: Stories

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  52 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A collection of connected Appalachian short stories by the author of Lambs of Men.

"Charles Dodd White is an exceptionally talented writer, and these stories secure his place as one of Appalachia's best short story writers. He's the real deal."

Ron Rash
author of Serena and Burning Bright
Published November 2011 by Bottom Dog Press (first published September 15th 2011)
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Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This compelling short story collection begins with an unforgettable commitment to silence that echoes through the reading, finishing with the arresting ‘Jack’s Gun’ and a ghost-hope for peace.

This fits right into the pocket of southern lit that I love so much, men wrestling with their blood and history, kicked up or pinned under the boot of the landscape.

The prose itself is poetic whilst remaining incredibly readable and there are passages with that mysterious cadence of mythology, particularl
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books of short stories this year. I don’t even have to look to see what short stories I’m comparing it to. It doesn’t matter. This is up there.

Maybe it’s my own fault, my own lack of exposure, maybe they’re out there and I haven’t found them yet, but I can find plenty of stories set in Tennessee, in Kentucky, in Georgia, in Alabama. I’ve got books titled “Arkansas.” I’ve got short stories named “Mississippi.” But the ones in my own specific place, in western Carolina,
Kirk Smith
I felt really smug reading such a pleasurable and beautifully written book, knowing in advance(from reviews)that I could expect it to be good. Charles Dodd White deserves all the praise that I can heap upon him. Other readers have done a far better job with their detailed reviews than I shall. I was very pleased that there was not a weak selection in this collection of short stories about contemporary Appalachia. The writing is fearless, hard-edged, and very satisfying. In spite of the sparse s ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The crowd quiets as I nervously await my destined moment of admission. The haphazardly formed circle of red acrylic seats bolted atop the cafeteria's chrome tubed chairs starts to settle. I look for familiar faces but don't find any- there may be distant acquaintances there, but my nervousness blocks any recollection. Most faces summons very low anxiety, but I have no doubt that my jitters present rather clearly; on display for all to see. I stand, less woozy and dazed than I had anticipated. Th ...more
Charles White
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it, so I like it.
Ned Mozier
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very impressed with this new writer – evocative of Larry Brown and, perhaps even, Raymond Carver in describing lonely men with strained or peculiar relationships with women and histories of regret. Buddies, drinking, dogs, trucks and guns are all traditional fare in the great Smokey mountains. These are short stories with well crafted starting paragraphs and often shattering conclusions. White turns a fine phrase, and switches idioms well amongst the protagonists, demonstrating a range of person ...more
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prose
So, I think I said before that I don’t want to rate books that I’ve read from people I know, or at least, from people I’ve met. But usually, when I ask an author they insist they’d rather have an honest review than nothing at all… but I strongly suspect that no author thinks I would dream of ever shitting all over their book.

And I’ve thought about it some, and while I reserve the right to change my mind, or contradict myself, or forget any vows I’ve taken in the past, or future, as of right now
B. Rule
Parts of this short story collection are dense confections, loaded with complex, often gruffly beautiful prose, unsparing portraits of mountain life, and short, intense stories that develop maximum punch from brief vignettes. However, other parts read like the early drafts of MFA work, and contain some real groaners of plot, character, and diction. I believe White is a skillful writer, but my belief that his talent had sufficiently matured wavered throughout this brief volume. The rating I give ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
“Winter by Heart” is a story I won’t soon forget, especially the ending. Wow! That story is worth the price of the book right there. Plenty of other good stories in this collection and with its sense of place and elemental descriptions of the natural world it reminds me a lot of Chris Offutt’s Kentucky Straight. What I enjoy most about White’s writing, and this is just a writerly thing, but something that makes his work sing on a level most readers might not notice, is his powerful use of nouns ...more
Brenda Jernigan
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
White's prose style and stories are so evocative of mountains and the people who inhabit them. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Matt Briggs
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are classically well-formed short stories in the vein of Knockemstiff (Donald Ray Pollock), Volt [Alan Heathcock), and Straight out of Kentucky (Chris Offutt) that deal with a kind of rural, upper South character that is both contemporary and timeless. The contemporary world is here but it isn't a presence in the way that say it is Bobbie Ann Mason or even Flannery O'Conner, and I think this is kind of what it shares with Knockemstiff, Volt, and Straight out of Kentucky. There are new deve ...more
S.W. Gordon
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dang! I would be admiring the elegant, poetic prose and masculine diction which fell like rain drops on my upturned face when---WHAM---I'd get gut punched. WTF! He just friggin' shot that cute little cub just like that? It reminded me of the scene in Old Yeller when the boy blasts a hole on his beloved dog's skull with hardly any hesitation. But Charles isn't a one-trick pony, the shocks and surprises kept coming. Sam's review was spot on describing these stories like a shotgun blast. I can't wa ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: appalachian
a strong collection. At first, I thought these stories were each too short- but now that it's over, I think if some of them had been longer, they would have lost a sense of urgency/edge. I agree with some of the other reviews that sometimes this was a bit close to "overwritten", but in the end, I didn't mind so much.
Taylor Brown
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn this one's good. Ranks right up there with the very best from Pinckney Benedict, Chris Offutt, and Breece D'J Pancake. CDW nearly wore out my pen with his prose. I couldn't hardly go a page without underlining something. This one has my highest recommendation for sure.
Sam Slaughter
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic short story collection that has a power that grows as the reader makes his or her way through the stories. Stark and beautiful with all the force of a shotgun blast, these stories are ones to go back to, to teach, to buy for others.
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection. I highly recommend it.

For an interview with White, check out my blog:
Debra Leigh Scott
Charles Dodd White is another of my favorite writers. Another writer whose ear for language creates sublime literature, he has given us, in this collection, some of the most beautifully written stories I've read in a very long time. I reviewed this collection when it was published for the New York Journal of Books, and said, in part: "It is hard to compose a review about a writer as exceptional as Charles Dodd White. The simple existence of his writing challenges a reviewer to do better, write b ...more
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This is a collection of thought-provoking stories about humanity. Charles Dodd White writes characters, particularly men, who capture your imagination as he describes them. It's not a pretty picture that he paints for your mind's eye, but it is a truthful and accurate one. He writes about the pain and the sorrow and the desperation felt by those who hit rock bottom and keep falling. That's what we read here - not so much the what and t
Carol Stanley-Snow
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Carol Stanley-Snow
received free from LOVED THESE STORIES.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was okay...
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Charles Dodd White lives in eastern Tennessee. He is a recipient of the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for excellence in Appalachian Literature, a Jean Ritchie Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and an individual artist’s grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. He is author of the novels, IN THE HOUSE OF WILDERNESS (forthcoming 2018 Ohio University Press), A SHELTER OF OTHERS (20 ...more
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