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The Coal Tattoo

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,602 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
Life isn’t easy for twenty-two year old Easter and her teenage sister Anneth, who were left parentless as young children. While Easter, a devout Pentecostal, finds solace in the powerful music of her church, Anneth seeks comfort in the rougher edges of life found in dancing, drinking, and fast living. Easter believes in tradition and is intent on rearing her wild young sis ...more
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Published May 27th 2011 by Recorded Books (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Stephanie
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, hicklit, 2013
Easter and Anneth are sisters who are different from one another. Easter is a very proper and God fearing young lady. Anneth is the opposite, she loves to go out drinking and dancing and generally getting into trouble. Easter being the older of the two tries her best to keep Anneth under control, but it ain't easy.

The two lose their parents as young children and are raised by their grandparents. But the two end up alone while still very young after losing their last surviving grandmother. Yet th
...more
Chrissie
I have read three books by Silas House. Each is a stand-alone, but all three are about one family. If you wish to read them chronologically, read them in this order:
1. A Parchment of Leaves 5 stars
2. The Coal Tattoo 3 stars
3. Clay's Quilt 3 stars
My personal ratings are indicated beside each.

The first book is set at the time of the First World War and is about the maternal grandmother of the two sisters about whom this, the second book, is written. The time span between the first and the second
...more
Carol
May 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not as strong as A Parchment of Leaves. I just could not get into this book. I couldn't stand the two main characters, Easter and Anneth. They lacked the strength and depth of Vine and Esme in the previous story. Both of them were just so flat and frustrating. I guess I'm a little biased because I can't stand reading books set in the 60's, but I thought I would still give this one a chance hoping it would be as good as A Parchment of Leaves. Definitely not though. By the end, I was in ...more
Peacegal
More overwrought Southern Appalachian chick lit from my book discussion group. I plowed through this one in a few days because I didn't want to read it, but as the book group leader I'm compelled to.

While the writing style was evocative and creative, too often the characters and storyline simply left me rolling my eyes. Here we have yet another set of women who are searching for life and fulfillment, which always boils down to a good man and a bayybee. Oh, for Pete's sake.

I'm sure I'm not the o
...more
Susan
This was another great book by the amazingly talented Silas House. It is the story of two sisters who lived in eastern Kentucky; one was as wild as could be while the other was very sensible and church-going. The story is about the people and culture of the eastern mountains. The bond of sisterhood and love they shared helped them throughout the trials of their lives. I was excited to find characters in this book from two of House's other books, A Parchment of Leaves and Clay's Quilt. I don't th ...more
Rebekah
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will admit I didn't know I was in the middle till i was done, and to make it worse it was the last book written, and apparently the Author didn't know they would work together till this story came about, but now I will read with more than I wanted when I get to the other stories. What is it about me and connect the dots books.
The Coal Tattoo by Silas House was a lovely story. it was a drama with evil corporate being defeated by the little guy (or gals). It was strong women facing life head on
...more
Rivera Sun
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A poignant, texturally rich, gritty with the feel of Appalachia, humid, real, and just plain great story. I was rooting for the characters from the first scene. "Anneth was dancing . . . and it was like seeing joy made into a human form that could travel across the dance floor." Excellent. Silas House plunges you into the world of wild-girl Easter and her straight-laced big sister Easter, twisting you along a narrative ride that never grows dull and leads to unlikely places. You'll be glad there ...more
Margaret
A fun read, none too serious and not as good as my first Silas House read, Parchment of Leaves. It took about a quarter way in to really pick up for me. There were some poignant parts which got me to thinking and reminiscing about my own family's Appalachian roots in Kentucky. I also got a real hankering for buttermilk biscuits which only occurs when the author brings a southern story to life for me. I enjoyed the chance to think back on my father's stories of his Kentucky upbringing, of coal mi ...more
Jennie Pollard
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Silas House is the best author I have ever read. Especially when it comes to Appalachian fiction. His books make me homesick for where I grew up. When reading his books I can picture myself in the story and I get so involved in the lives of the characters that I never want the books to end. I suggest this book to anyone even if they aren't from Appalachia.
Missi
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for Kentuckians-- rich local color, poetic figurative language that captures the heart of a people bound by mountains and hard-scrabble life and their love of land. I first read this book several years ago, along with the others in the series--Clay's Quilt and Parchment of Leaves--- but loved rereading this one for my book club.
Amy
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved it. And I'm really honored to be able to say that the author is both my friend and mentor. This is the third of three books that are a loose trilogy about a Kentucky family living in coal mining country. The relationships Silas describes and the scenes he paints are just beautiful.
Jessica Thomas
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Are there words to describe the beauty and pain that make this book so wonderful? Silas House had made me a fan of his work. His books are eye opening, unique and eloquent. I can't wait to start reading another one of his books.
Martine
Definitely captures an almost indescribable love of land, which is quite the accomplishment. I felt as though I were a part of Easter and Anneth's world. It was nice to be home again.
Patty Forrester
I loved it...anything by Silas House is a treasure.
Sarah Elizabeth
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sobbing in the salon by the end of this beautifully written book. This one touched my heart. Definitely worth checking out!
Nora
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything Silas House writes is worth reading.
Billie Pangalos
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wonderful story...but I just love Silas House's storytelling....
Wendy
May 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author didn't stretch too much to create the main characters - sisters who are opposites.
Amy Murphey
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved all the silas house books...its a must-read!
Matthew
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stu Moore
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book and what a great writer. Now I'll need to read the other two that are apparently connected tangentially, at some point. I will remember Anneth and Easter for quite a while, very vividly drawn characters with a compelling story. I'm not that into regional American authors, but Mr. House is someone to make an exception for.
Chrissy
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nicely-paced book portrayal of a small coal mining town/family. The writer's rich and full characters all playing their desperate parts in one of our saddest 'American' tales--felt like it was me, my family, my land.

Can't wait to read another book by him.
Heather Gibson
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, i-own-these-tbr
Very good book. Loved the love that was a part of the story. Loved the writing. If it would have made me cry, I laughed quite a bit, it would have been a 5 star. I have several highlighted passages that I have to go back to....they may convince me to make it a 5 star.
Margo
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. I'd recommend to anyone who wants an authentic voice from Appalachia.
Allison
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love Anneth and Easter.
Rhonda
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sociology
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Adams
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: appalachia
A beautiful story of the bonds that bind us to family and the land we grow up on. Silas House's writing possesses a quality that makes it lyrical and raw, and the story is realistic - My favorite passages are included below:

"She didn't feel an empty place inside herself because she had barely ventured out of these hills. She, did, however, feel funny because she not share these desires that the rest of the world seemed to have. She had never studied movie magazines and wished to be an actress, h
...more
Marvin
Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This is the third book I've read recently (with My Sister's Keeper & Fall on Your Knees) about sisters--a "good" sister & a "bad" (but good-hearted) one. This one is less plot-driven than the other two, focused more on the sisters' relationship and, even more, on their relationship to their land & heritage in the hills of Kentucky where coal mining dominates. Both aspects are well treated; the "good" sister's on-again, off-again Pentecostal faith seems less fairly treated. When she f ...more
Patricia
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Coal Tattoo is Silas House's luminous follow-up to his equally luminous Parchment of Leaves. In The Coal Tattoo we meet sisters Easter and Anneth, grand daughters of the unforgettable Vine Sullivan. We meet the people of Kentucky coal country, many of whom bear the 'coal tattoo' of the title - a physical mark from years of coal mining. Easter and Anneth don't bear coal tattoos, but they do bear intense love of their land - the mountains and hills of Kentucky. Easter, Anneth, their family, fr ...more
Nancy
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story of two very different sisters, their complicated relationship, and their very deep connection to the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky. Easter is the older sister, who as a devout Pentecostal is the responsible and steady one, whereas Anneth is the younger sister, wild and carefree and prone to more than a few compromising situations.

Several reviews mentioned that there were three books in the series (Clay's Quilt 2001, A Parchment of Leaves 2003, and The Coal Tattoo 2004). It should be
...more
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Silas House is an American writer best known for his novels. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist, and columnist. He lives in Eastern Kentucky, where he was born and raised.

House's fiction is known for its attention to the natural world, working class characters, and the plight of the rural place and rural people. He is also a music journalist, environmental activist and columnist
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