This is a terrific read by what I think is an important emerging voice in southern and Appalachian literature. White co-edited the recent Appalachian story collection, Degrees of Elevation, which I’ll probably write about in the coming weeks, and he has a great selection of recommended reading over at GoodReads. He also maintains an interesting blog. Check out this post on the construction of a short novel.
Lambs of Men is a short novel about a Marine, Hiram Tobit, who has recently returned to his North Carolina home after World War I. He sets up as a Marine recruiter, lives in a boardinghouse with an old widow woman, and adamantly refuses to visit his father, Sloane. Just when Hiram starts getting comfortable, something terrible happens in town, which I don’t want to spoil. But the aftermath of the event forces Hiram and his father to confront each other and the past. The story moves at a quick pace (I read it in about two days), and the characters are interesting. What I enjoyed most, however, were White’s descriptions of the setting. He takes great care with his language, and every few pages I would pause with jealousy over some turn of phrase. I’d recommend this for anyone interested in historical fiction and southern literature.