Books


 THE SAME TERRIBLE STORM (2012)




“The Same Terrible Storm introduces us to a fierce and lyrical writer who, in his depiction of contemporary Appalachian life, is equal parts uncompromising and compassionate, and able to eerily channel a wide spectrum of distinctive voices—coal miners, musicians, pill poppers, snake handlers, writers, marijuana farmers, brutal men and complicated women, knowing children and dangerous elders—all of them filled with yearning, all of them inextricably bound to their time and place. An extraordinary debut collection.”K. L. Cook, author of Love Songs for the Quarantined and Last Call

“Sheldon Lee Compton is the definition of what Faulkner meant when he described the closeness between the short story writer and the poet, saying, “the short story…is the most demanding form after poetry.” A story like “The Son of a Man” in The Same Terrible Storm isn’t so much a story as it is prose poetry. Compton doesn’t write paragraphs, but rather indented stanzas.” David Joy, author of Where All Light Tends to Go

“This is a brilliant book by Sheldon Lee Compton, one of our finest short story writers in the independent publishing world.” Robert Vaughan, author of Microtones and Rift

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 WHERE ALLIGATORS SLEEP (2014)




“Yes, yes, yes, here’s a book that restores my faith that literary fiction can be more than just the repurposing of long exhausted themes, more than another trope for a previously disenfranchised group, and more than a game of sentence-making mumblety-peg played by a narrow swath of writers.  You could pick up hundreds of books and not find anything that resembles the way these words are assembled. Too much of literary fiction is simply a different story told with the same style of language. Sometimes it seems only the names of the characters have changed. Not so with Where Alligators Sleep.” Steven J. McDermott, author of Winter of Different Directions and Editor of Storyglossia

“I thought I knew flash fiction. I felt pretty comfortable with its range and scope, its genre boundaries and limitations. And then I read Sheldon Lee Compton’s Where Alligators Sleep. And everything I thought I knew and loved about flash fiction went sailing out the front door, hit the curb and was run over by a pickup truck. This is the sort of collection that reaches deep into your chest, grabs hold of your heart and twists. It is raw, visceral, daring, risky and, at the end of the day, rock-solid writing. I have never so whole-heartedly recommended a collection of flash fiction.” Steph Post, author of A Tree Born Crooked

“Pieces of flash and fiction that linger in your brain, but then as a whole become something more, a picture of what it means to be a man, full of violence, work, death, relationships, children, and what it means to be alive and part of the world.” Ben Tanzer, author of Be Cool

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BROWN BOTTLE (2016)





“Sheldon Lee Compton is one of the new young breed of Kentucky writers–talented, fearless, and strong–bringing us word from the hills. Chris Offutt, author of Kentucky Straight

“Sheldon Lee Compton is a hillbilly Bukowski, one of the grittiest writers to come down the pike since Larry Brown, and Brown Bottle is his best work yet.” Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time

“Brown Bottle, by Sheldon Lee Compton, is a bottleneck blues of a novel, played at midnight, harsh, unsparing, and real as hell. Brown Bottle the man is also someone you won’t forget. His story has emotional and moral weight. You won’t read a better novel this year.” Rusty Barnes, author of Ridgerunner

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ALICE AND THE WENDIGO (2017)


“Poetic, strange, mythic, and true, this work by Sheldon Lee Compton will take your breath away. It’s life and death and love and loss. It’s survival and transformation. The artistry is reminiscent of Matt Bell, but it’s Compton’s inimitable voice that shines through each and every page of this novella. Highly recommended.”

–Kathy Fish, author of Together We Can Bury It


“Wild as a charging boar and tender as a raindrop, Sheldon Lee Compton’s Alice and the Wendigo is a surreal sleepwalk through a world in which love is a storm and death is a question. It will wake you with a jolt.”


– Meredith Alling, author of Sing the Song


“Held in a cryptic in-between place fraught with many Alices, new bodies that struggle to know hunger and monsters that once were men, Compton’s Alice and the Wendigo boldly unfurls itself.  With every sentence a poem and its vibrant imagery, Compton completely captures.”


-xTx, author of Today I Am a Book


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PODUNK LORE (2018)




Volume 4 of Dog On A Chain Press's Lantern Lit. series, Vol. 4 features modern and aesthetic underground poetics from the Appalachian hillside. Sheldon Lee Compton appears with Dog On A Chain Press and in the Lantern Lit series for the first time with his contribution Podunk Lore.William Graham's second offering for the series is followed up by Mat Gould's third title in the series.

"Compton's section of Lantern Lit Vol. 4 offers us the redemption of hope for a post-apocalyptic future...Yet again, the female presence represents delicacy and impermanence, “. . . a body movable in a catch of wind.”  Still, the chance to recover from the destruction of the beauty of creation, the hope to be found amidst the doom, is shown to be found in human interaction." - Red Fez







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DYSPHORIA: AN APPALACHIAN GOTHIC (2019)


"Compton is an author whose art imitates life. A writer who understands the importance of portraying beauty and brutality in literature. A novelist who appreciates the elasticity of the defining line between right and wrong."  Matthew J. Hall in PANK

Dysphoria is ugly and gothic and morally questionable the way the best gothic writing should be, but then there’s this innocence, these moments of tenderness and beauty, this intent to do good almost as much as bad...Time doesn’t heal all wounds, it mostly makes them fester and boil over, the scab never fully crusting over. Time and Sheldon Lee Compton don’t let anyone off easy, and that’s just it, what makes Dysphoria timeless and never more relevant. It’s that deadly mix of Old Testament Vengeance, Original Sin, and Murphy’s Law lurking around the corner of every action and reaction that makes you turn each page with one eye open and the other half-shut with a wince. And yet, with every page there’s Compton, ever the wide-eyed witness to all of it, and not just them. Us too.”  Benjamin Drevlow, author of Bend with the Knees


“No sooner had I read ‘His hands were two leather balls folded in his lap,’ the place called 'Red Knife,’ and Larry's back with its ‘dinner-plate shoulder blades,’ than I was hooked on Sheldon Lee Compton's Dysphoria: An Appalachian Gothic. The rhythms of its speech, word choices, depicted events, and sensory observations are a trip back home. The description of an old bedroom as having the ‘scent of deep body odor’ captures a memory of Appalachian lifestyle I know in my bones. Combined with the most believable characters and a harrowing plot, this is evocation of the heart's experience of Appalachia at its best.”   Ron Houchin, author of The Man Who Saws Us in Half

"Sheldon Lee Compton is like a living, breathing John Cougar Mellencamp song (minus guitars and hand claps) but with much better stories."  Brian Alan Ellis, author of Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty

"When a reader steps into the pages of a Compton story, the reader must maneuver through sharp edges, and wade in the mud of Sheldon's honest and poetic world in order to reach the reality of Sheldon's people, his characters. He's digging deep into the realness of his skin, a place most authors are scared to go to. Dysphoria: An Appalachian Gothic is Sheldon's masterpiece thus far. This book is like putting a revolver in to your mouth and pulling the trigger. Each bullet plugging the brain with honesty, pain, grit, fear, and truth."  -Frank Reardon, author of Interstate Chokehold

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ABSOLUTE INVENTION (2019)


In his third short story collection, Absolute Invention, Sheldon Lee Compton returns to the realms of imagination belonging to magical realism and fabulist fiction. This collection fires up the world of creative creation he first dealt with in his collection Where Alligators Sleep.

You'll encounter a town that beautifies amputation, ghost dinosaurs, dragons that live in ponds, and a man who cures his loneliness with help from a homunculus, among many other stories and characters you will never find anywhere else. From start to finish you'll get exactly what is promised: absolute invention.









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