A Year without Months
“A beautiful, powerful book. Read it and be changed.”—Jim Minick
This collection of fourteen essays by Charles Dodd White—praised by Silas House as “one of the best prose stylists of Appalachian literature”—explores the boundaries of family, loss, masculinity, and place. Contemplating the suicides of his father, uncle, and son, White meditates on what it means to go on when seemingly everything worth living for is lost. What he discovers is an intimate connection to the natural world, a renewed impulse to understand his troubled family history, and a devotion to following the clues that point to the possibility of a whole life.
Avoiding easy sentiment and cliché, White’s transformative language drives toward renewal. A Year without Months introduces lively and memorable characters, as the author draws on a wide range of emotions to analyze everything, including himself.
White has had to redefine ‘southern man’ beyond guns and toughness in order to forge his own identity and in order, really, to survive. But this book is also deeply about loss, about coming to terms with our own failures, especially as parents. There’s a tremendous tenderness and grace here—for the imperfect dead who have gone on, for the flawed family that we still can love, and for the strong yet humble self, in all our many mistakes. This is such a beautiful, powerful book. Read it and be changed.’
Jim Minick, author of Fire Is Your Water
A Year without Months achieves a lyricism and poignancy reminiscent of Norman Maclean’s great family story A River Runs Through It, but Charles Dodd White’s voice and story are his own. Many books linger forever in our minds. Only a few also linger forever in our hearts, and this is one of them.’
Ron Rash, author of In the Valley
This book is a reckoning. As a longtime fan of Charles Dodd White’s fiction, I’m captivated by the essays in A Year without Months. Here is a writer haunted by profound loss, by fatherhood and fatherlessness, and by the changing landscape of Appalachia. In beautiful, unsparing prose, White turns a novelist’s eye inward and interrogates his own southern manhood, offering nuanced, intimate portrayals of himself and his family. A candid and deeply necessary study of backwoods masculinity, with all its tenderness and toxicity laid bare.’
Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface
‘Talk about a slim book with a powerful and emotional punch. White wrestles with unfathomable loss, difficult relationships, and the loss of Appalachia, yet somehow finds beauty and truth.’
Garden & Gun
‘A work of harrowing candor, insightful compassion, and hard-won beauty.’
‘Necessary reading for anyone interested in the changing world of the modern mountain south.’
Still: The Journal
Why I Don’t Hunt Anymore
What We Gain in the Hurt
Self-Taught on the Tuck
Learning a Place by Its Waters
A Year without Months
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