Featured as one of O Magazine’s Best Books of Summer
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF SUMMER 2018 BY Entertainment Weekly, New York Post, The Millions, Southern Living, POPSUGAR, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Review of Books
Praised by the Washington Post as "Tennessee Williams . . . transposed to the twenty-first-century South," Nick White returns with a stunning short-story collection that tackles issues of masculinity, identity, and place, with a sharp eye for social commentary and a singular handling of character.
At first glance, the stories in Sweet and Low seem grounded in the everyday: they paint pictures of idyllic Southern landscapes, characters fulfilling their roles as students, wives, boyfriends, sons. But all is not as it seems. In these stories, Nick White deconstructs the core qualities of Southern fiction, exposing deeply flawed and fascinating characters--promiscuous academics, aging podcasters, woodpecker assassins, and lawnmower enthusiasts, among others--all on wildly compelling quests. From finding an elusive bear to locating a prized timepiece to making love on the grave of an iconic writer, each story is a thrilling adventure with unexpected turns. White's honest and provocative prose will jolt readers awake with its urgency.
"Nick White's Sweet and Low made me work. It subverted this reader's expectations again and again, leading me down improbable Southern roads, down novel, half-hidden paths that were strange and familiar all at once. At each story's end, I found myself in a surprising moment, his characters springing wholly from the page, achingly real. I wanted to separate myself from his people, to qualify his southerners, his lovers, his fighters, his abusers, his outcasts and victims. I wanted to judge them, but in the end, I found myself immersed in the narrative with them, all of us gasping, frustratingly flawed and human, achingly real. Read this collection, and let Nick introduce you to all the people you never were and still could be. Read this collection, and let him break your heart." - JESMYN WARD, author of the National Book Award-winning novels Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones
"Sweet and Low is a masterpiece collection, and White is a virtuoso of voice. The poignant, dry wit of these stories--imagine if Faulkner wrote an episode of "The Golden Girls"--will have you falling in love and cackling. But it's the reckoning honesty within each tale that will truly melt your spine. Prepare for all your feelings to be snatched and then returned to you, purer and wiser. This is a book you can't help but clutch to your chest." - ALISSA NUTTING, author of Made for Love and Tampa
"The stories in Nick White's amazing collection, Sweet and Low, achieve this utterly brilliant feat of being distinctly Southern while also, somehow, continually exploding our understanding of the South. These are such open-hearted stories, every line an act of grace, populated with characters who become beautiful in their flaws. Few writers could achieve this kind of generosity, this kind of love for the stories that they tell, and Nick White is, thank god, one of those writers." - KEVIN WILSON, author of Perfect Little World & The Family Fang
"Nick White is a genius at engaging and exploring what I see as the central theme in the best literary fiction: the great “Who the hell am I?” His characters are always deeply in pursuit of self, and no matter what their surface differences might be from the reader, they will enchant you and touch you and may even change you. Sweet & Low is a brilliant collection of stories, and a truly important one." - ROBERT OLEN BUTLER, author of the Pulitzer prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“White’s brilliant first story collection peels back the curtain on masculinity and identity in the Deep South. [His] stirring stories probe the inextricable ways people’s identities are bound to and shaped by their environments, and what happens when they attempt to rise above. This is an atmospheric and expertly crafted collection.”
“[A] fine exemplar of lower-class yearning… all the adultery and unrequited longing and even a dead dog needed for a country hit are present. Work that bears the promise of good things to come.”
"White, a rising queer fiction writer, wows with this dreamy, spooky short story collection which tackles themes of sexuality and masculinity in the American South. The best of the book may be its very first entrant, snapshotting the lives of a widow and her late husband’s lover and tracing the moment they unexpectedly converge."
"The alchemy in this collection is anything but ordinary. These fantastic short stories from Nick White introduce surprising, memorable, and ultimately human characters whose journeys play out on familiar Southern landscapes and in White’s thrillingly executed prose."
“Nick White’s gorgeous story collection, Sweet & Low, is wonderfully woven from threads of identity, sexuality, family, and heartbreak. Characters are deeply flawed and unforgettable, burdened by secrets that often threaten their very existence.”
-Aaron Coats, CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS
“In his new book, Sweet and Low, an accomplished, atmospheric collection of stories that take place in his native state, White continues to explore the experience of being queer in a conservative culture. An author on the rise, White displays impressive range in this rewarding collection.”
-Julie Hale, BookPage
“[Q]uirky and queer in all the right ways.”
Emily Polson, BOOKRIOT
“Mississippian Nick White gathers in his stories the stereotypical places and faces and aspects of the South—juke joints, whiskey-logged writers, Gatlinburg tourists, a summertime heat “so thick it has texture and personality”—and tosses out the sap in favor of unvarnished characters set against a brooding, beautiful region.”
-GARDEN & GUN
"Fine, evocative writing, informed by the kinds of love that will touch readers' hearts."
A collection set in the idyllic South where the characters are not what they seem and the core qualities of Southern fiction are gradually and masterfully deconstructed."