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Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks

Stories from the New South

List Price: $15.00

March 13, 2007 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.75, 220 Pages | ISBN 9781593761301
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“Serious and searching.” —Washington Post Book World

Provocatively blurring the lines between autobiography, short fiction, and essay, Greg Bottoms presents a series of fifteen honest and beautifully spare tales of class, poverty, violence, and racism set in the margins of the urban and suburban New South.

An ode to Pulitzer-nominee Breece D’J Pancake’s life and untimely death, the title story deftly interweaves Bottoms’s personal history to insightful result. In the transformative “The Metaphor,” the narrator proclaims, “when the world looks like every little promise has been lanced and bled out, you need a story to tell yourself.” So we move seamlessly between the lives of people both real and imagined and the life of the author, and what emerges is not only a composite of sharply drawn and revealing moments, but also a book-length meditation on the nature of, and necessity for, storytelling itself. Including three new stories — “Sam at the Gun Show,” “Strangers and Dreams,” and “Heroism #2” — this revised edition announces an understated, arresting new voice in literature.

GREG BOTTOMS is the author of the critically acclaimed literary memoir Angelhead, one of Esquire’s top nonfiction titles of 2000, and the travel memoir The Colorful Apocalypse: Journeys in Outsider Art. He teaches at the University of Vermont.


“Serious and searching.” —Washington Post Book World

“Sharp, lucid, and disconcertingly spiritual prose.” —Publishers Weekly

“Highly recommended.” —Library Journal

“Bottoms’ prose is sparse and direct, imbued with a passion to write honestly and with sympathy for a people who might not otherwise have a voice in contemporary fiction.” —San Francisco Chronicle (Editor’s Pick)

“Feverish debut story collection.” —Chicago Tribune

“A big talent that deserves a long run.” —Boston Globe

“There is far more heartbreak than sentimentality in this important young writer’s second effort.” —Austin Chronicle

“Bottoms writes like a poet, creating characters who make his readers feel compelled to read more just so they can be a part of this dark intimacy.” —Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“Greg Bottoms writes about people and places that Faulkner might have written about had Yoknapatawpa county been in the ’hood. The victims of fate who populate his inner cities are cut from the same cloth as those in the fictions of Denis Johnson and Raymond Carver in a particularly nasty mood.” —Hartford Courant

“The power of Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks—which is considerable—derives from Bottoms’s ability to unmask this charade for every person in the book, including, most especially and crucially and hearbreakingly, himself.” —David Shields, author of How Literature Saved My Life

“In his strangely calm, assured, voice, Bottoms stakes out the territory of his own unique style—volatile, intriguing, wild, mixing fiction and non-fiction in a manner reminiscent of Tim O’Brien. This is a highly promising debut collection of short stories.” —David Means, author of Assorted Fire Events

“It’s hard to refrain from listing the writers who come to mind when reading Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks, for this superb story collection calls to mind the brutal honesty of Richard Ford, the psychological nimbleness of Harold Brodkey, the resilient faith of Andre Dubus. But Greg Bottoms possesses his own distinct, utterly convincing voice, and in Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks he creates a marvelous, disturbing world of mayhem and despair and the relentless pursuit of redemption.” —John Gregory Brown, author of Audubon’s Watch

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