ON SALE JUNE 5, 2018!
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