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Monsters in Appalachia: Book summary and reviews of Monsters in Appalachia by Sheryl Monks

Monsters in Appalachia

Stories

by Sheryl Monks

Monsters in Appalachia by Sheryl Monks X
Monsters in Appalachia by Sheryl Monks
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  • Published Nov 2016
    192 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

A master of Appalachian dialect and colloquial speech, Monks writes prose that is dark, taut, and muscular, but also beguiling and playful. Monsters in Appalachia is a powerful work of fiction.

The characters within these fifteen stories are in one way or another staring into the abyss. While some are awaiting redemption, others are fully complicit in their own undoing.

We come upon them in the mountains of West Virginia, in the backyards of rural North Carolina, and at tourist traps along Route 66, where they smolder with hidden desires and struggle to resist the temptations that plague them.

A Melungeon woman has killed her abusive husband and drives by the home of her son's new foster family, hoping to lure the boy back. An elderly couple witnesses the end-times and is forced to hunt monsters if they hope to survive. A young girl "tanning and manning" with her mother and aunt resists being indoctrinated by their ideas about men. A preacher's daughter follows in the footsteps of her backsliding mother as she seduces a man who looks a lot like the devil.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A memorable debut: each of these stories is as original and multidimensional as the characters who inhabit them." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Monks knows her monsters, both literal and figurative. And she knows the territory of hills and hollers, where reality is sometimes heightened so sharply that it bleeds into myth...These stories sparkle with dark, extreme humor." - Publishers Weekly

"A fresh, new voice in contemporary fiction, in stories of teenage angst, bonds of family, motherhood, and contradictions of middle age. Always surprising, these stories conjure both sorrow and mystery with intimate, loving detail." - Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek, Chasing the North Star, and Boone: A Biography

"These elemental stories take on the dark Appalachian territory of David Joy and Ron Rash with a kind of raw, absolute, female confidence. Coal miners, snake handlers, smart, scary women at their wits end - all at the mercy of their terrific landscape." - Ashley Warlick, author of The Arrangement

"Sheryl Monks...gorgeous (but never merely decorative) language generously limns the hard mountain landscape as well as the luminously-realized and all-too-human folks who struggle there. This collection brought me home again." - Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy and Other Stories

"Sheryl Monks's stories are gorgeously written dispatches from Appalachia, telling the difficult truth of what it is to survive in a place that can exact a heavy price. But these tales are generous too, and a particular grace sets on them all." - Charles Dodd White, author of A Shelter of Others and Sinners of Sanction County

"There's music in these stories - visceral, rhythmical, soulful, deep. They are siren songs, taking us places we otherwise might not go." - Kim Church, author of Byrd

This information about Monsters in Appalachia was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Sheryl Monks

Sheryl Monks is the author of Monsters in Appalachia: Stories. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Queens University of Charlotte. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of literary journals, including The Butter, The Greensboro Review, storySouth, Regarding Arts and Letters, Night Train, and others, and in the anthologies Surreal South and Eyes Burning at the Edge of the Woods: Contemporary West Virginia Fiction and Poetry, among others. She is a past winner of the Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, recipient of a North Carolina Regional Artist's Project Grant, and a previous finalist for the Hudson Prize, sponsored by Black Lawrence Press. She grew up in southern West Virginia and the foothills of North Carolina. Sheryl works for a peer-reviewed medical journal and edits the online literary magazine Change Seven. For more information, visit her online at www.sherylmonks.com.

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