Release Date: July 31, 2012
eBook Price: $7.99
Town Smokes contains nine stories set in rural West Virginia. The stories are masculine in tone, story, and character. Benedict's world is a regional one, but the stories are universal.
"With the appearance of Town Smokes we are beyond question in the presence of a strong talent. It is one assured and also venturesome; we have been introduced to an original." —Eudora Welty
"Beware the wise who are young and gifted. They quickly become irreplaceable. And with these first stories, Pinckney Benedict, who isnot merely precocious, shows convincingly that he is one of them." —Russell Banks
"These are intelligent and fully imagined stories. And Pinckney Benedict clearly has an amazing gift, a dazzling future." —George Garrett
"An often heart-stopping literary performance." —The New York Times
"In these nine stories, Benedict evokes the world of hard-bitten Southern men who live in shabby weatherbeaten houses or rickety trailers, who work in tire factories or slaughterhouses, who are slow to speak but quick to explode in anger, and whose women are tangential figures. Benedict deftly delineates his characters and has a good ear for the cadence of Southern speech. But the stories, although powerful, are too grim to be read in one sitting. Most include gory if not violent events: the shooting and flaying of a snake in 'The Sutton Pie Safe'; the killing of a hog in 'Booze'; a barroom fight in 'Hackberry'; and various episodes of stabbing, shooting and dogfighting in 'Pit.' The title story is as bleak as the others: a mountain teenager is robbed of some of his dead father's possessions at gunpoint as he walks to town to buy cigarettes. At 22, the author is a talent to watch, but one hopes that he injects a note of lightness into future stories." —Publishers Weekly
"What Beattie did for urbanites, Cheever and Updike for suburbanites, a younger generation—Omstead, Abbott, Cullen, and now Benedict—is doing for the rural population. Only 22 and recipient of the 1986 Nelson Algren Award, Benedict has published stories in the Chicago Tribune and Ontario Review. His world is regional, tough, raw, male; these nine stories deal with the mountainmen, sheepfarmers, and hograisers of rural West Virginia. 'Booze' describes the rampages of a white rogue boar. When the narrator and his friend Ken catch sight of him while digging post holes, they go after him, their only weapon a brush hook used to clear scrub. With echoes of Ahab and the white whale reverberating, Ken kills the beast, but not before he has broken Ken's leg. In this and other stories, Benedict's talent is certainly equal to his vision and his insight." —Marcia Tager, Library Journal
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pinckney Benedict has published three collections of short fiction (Town Smokes, The Wrecking Yard, and Miracle Boy) and a novel (Dogs of God). His stories have appeared in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, StoryQuarterly, Ontario Review, the O. Henry Award series (twice), the Pushcart Prize series (three times, most recently in the 2008 volume)), the New Stories from the South series, and The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. He is the recipient, among other prizes, of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Literary Fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, a Fiction Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council, a Michener Fellowship from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award (for which he has also recently served, with Amy Hempel and Lynn Freed, as a judge), and Britain’s Steinbeck Award.