The Coal Tattooby Silas House
In coal country, when a miner survives the collapse of a mine, he'll often surface with a permanent mark stamped onto his skin--a greenish blue imprint, sometimes jagged-edge, sometimes smooth--a symbol of endurance and sacrifice. A coal tattoo. In Silas House's new novel, everyone who's raised in Black Banks is indelibly marked by and forever connected to the
In coal country, when a miner survives the collapse of a mine, he'll often surface with a permanent mark stamped onto his skin--a greenish blue imprint, sometimes jagged-edge, sometimes smooth--a symbol of endurance and sacrifice. A coal tattoo. In Silas House's new novel, everyone who's raised in Black Banks is indelibly marked by and forever connected to the place, which is how it is for Anneth and Easter.
At the heart of The Coal Tattoo is the story of these two sisters who can't live together, but can't bear to be apart. Left to raise themselves in a small coal mining town in Tennessee, Anneth and Easter are as different as night and day. One worships the flashy world of Nashville, the other is a devout Pentecostal. One falls into the lap of any man, the other is too afraid to date. Both are looking for a way to come to terms with their mother's abandonment. Anneth, just sixteen, takes off to Nashville and elopes, while Easter, weathering her own young marriage, faces a crisis of faith.
For both sisters, their journey will bring them back to the land and to each other.
–The Charlotte Observer
“[This] lovely novel . . . about the love and survival skills of two very different sisters . . . is powered by a strong sense of place.”
“[House is] a writer of startling abilities . . . a master at rendering his characters’ emotional terrain as real and accessible.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Full of heartbreaking beauty and suffering . . . House brings vividly to life the Appalachian Mountains. . . . His love of the land comes through his words, and his admiration of the people colors every character.”
“Some characters wear coal tattoos, patches of coal buried in the skin. . . . The author brands the readers with a similarly indelible mark as we become enmeshed in the lives of these people; it’s a badge to be worn proudly.”
“A deeply emotional story . . . How do we cope with tragedy and heartbreak? The Coal Tattoo describes the struggles that all of us must endure to be human.”
–Dayton Daily News
“Engrossing . . . [A] pitch-perfect tale.”
- Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.68(w) x 8.74(h) x 1.13(d)
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—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Four Spirits and Ahab's Wife
Meet the Author
Silas House is the author of Clay's Quilt and A Parchment of Leaves. He is the recipient of the Kentucky Book of the Year Award and the James Still Award, from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. A Parchment of Leaves was a Book Sense Top Ten pick and a citywide reader's pick in four cities. A graduate of Spalding University, with an M.F.A. in writing, House lives with his wife and two daughters in Eastern Kentucky.
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“The Coal Tattoo” is the third installment in a series by Silas House. This sweet novel is strong enough to stand on its own if you haven't read the first two books in the series, “A Parchment of Leaves” and “Clay's Quilt.” This a story primarily of two very different sisters as they walk through various trials, sometimes successfully and sometimes just by enduring. It is also a reflection of life in a rural area and the influence of coal mining on a community. As lives of the sisters unfolds the reader discovers how events in their past affects the characters present choices and values and leads them to uncover strength within.
I heard this book on cd years ago and realized that I must have this story in my collection. You will get to know the characters and the setting as if they were your own.
I have never read this author before but look forward to reading more of his books. He captures the spirit and feel of how two sisters feel about one another and richly describes the beauty of Mountains of Kentucky. He captures the feelings of each character as they go through their joys and disappointments of women living in the early 6o's.
Story of love, mistakes, forgiveness, spirituality. Reflects importance of place.
In Kentucky the two sisters lost their parents when they were very young so their grandmothers raised them. The older sibling twenty-two years old Easter is introverted finding solace as a devoted Pentecostal who attends church every week seventeen years old extrovert Anneth loves to dance all night at the nearby bars as she cherishes male attention. Anneth and Matthew Morgan fall in love and elope to Tennessee. However, after a few months of marriage and in spite of Matthew showering Anneth with love, she becomes bored and leaves him to return home. Meanwhile El McIntosh steadfastly courts Easter until they finally marry. Anneth is jealous of the relationship between her older sister and her brother-in-law, which she sees all the time because she lives with them. As Anneth continues to find the wrong man for her, she also tries to place her ¿tattoo¿ on El further dividing the sisters. While Apollo heads to the moon and young men die in Asian rice paddies the world seems crazy, but in Kentucky two sisters still need each other. --- THE COAL TATTOO is a deep look at the love between sisters with one being contented to be a steady lay back ¿whispering¿ through life while the other is an untamed rowdy marching band. Though polar opposites, the magnetism that connects them is a sisterly love for one another fostered by a land that tattoos the soul as much as the coal mining literally does to the miners. Interestingly, Anneth is the mother of Clay (see the highly regarded CLAY'S QUILT, which this reviewer has not read, but will) as this superb family drama will send the audience seeking Silas House¿s previous works. --- Harriet Klausner
I absolutely loved all of his books, but this was my favorite. I really felt I got to know the characters so well, I was sad to see it end.