Volt by Alan Heathcock


A blistering collection of stories from an exhilarating new voiceOne man kills another after neither will move his pickup truck from the road. A female sheriff in a flooded town attempts to cover up a murder. When a farmer harvesting a field accidentally runs over his son, his grief sets him off walking, mile after mile. A band of teens bent on destruction runs amok in a deserted town at night. As these men and women lash out at the inscrutable c...

Details Volt

Release DateMar 1st, 2011
PublisherGraywolf Press
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller

Reviews Volt

  • karen
    what i am finding i like the most about these tales of the downtrodden in appalachia are their range of expression. this one falls in between the explosive, gratuitous (in a great way) violence of Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories and the almost severe restraint and quietude of In the Devil's Territory. they are stories of strict realism, told dispassionately, but not without emotional appeal, if that makes sense.and before anyone squawks, for ...
  • Lou
    Check out my interview with Alan Heathcock @ http://more2read.com/review/interview-with-alan-heathcock-may-2012/If you have liked the Authors, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Steinbeck, Cormac McCarthy and William Gay you will like this. These snippets of stories feel like ballads of loss, love, redemption and reconciliation, they ooze originality and great craftsmanship. He takes you to dream like sense of feelings at times in these stories...
  • Richard Derus
    This review can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud. This review can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
  • Maciek
    Alan Heathcock's stories reminded me heavily of Donald Day Pollock's Knockemstiff - both are set in a small, rural town somewhere in the American Midwest, and feature characters who are struggling with their lives - and themselves. Their existence and the world around them seems empty, desolate - plains and prairies stretching endlessly, days little different from one another, little hope or something new and better. Heathcock's Krafton is such a...
  • RandomAnthony
    Ok, I tried to write a normal Volt review and failed. I’m going with bullet points. • Volt is really fucking good. Sorry. I know doesn’t give you much information. Let us move on.• I try not to read reviews until I’m finished with a book, but I’m guessing (the unfortunately named) Heathcock (heh) gets compared to Woodrell, Faulkner, etc. Volt invites comparison and Heathcock’s (stop it) influences aren’t hard to track. That’s no...
  • Alan
    I was just saying (on another review) how I don't abandon books, but 'Volt' came along, and that called to me and told me to stop everything and read it: two stories in, it's brilliant. Terrifying and riveting and bone melting. Later..Yes the whole book was terrifying and riveting and bone melting. Heathcock is in the tradition of McCarthy and Carver and Steinbeck in the unflinching approach to his characters, here people of an imaginary town cal...
  • Melanie
    I've bruised and battered this book, taken it with me here and there, unable to shelf it, even after reading it. Largely because although I read the thing, a greedy read does not do the work justice. Of all the short stories I've read lately - Woodrell, Pollock, Flannery O'Connor, this collection has the most heart. The first two short stories are spellbinding. Cinematic. Slight gear change with the stories that followed but still in the territor...
  • Lori
    Release date: 3/11So in my mad rush to cram another book into 2010 - I cracked this collection of short stories open and found myself unable to lift my eyes from it's pages. Not because I wanted to finish it before the ball dropped, but because it completely sucked me in and refused to spit me back out!2010 seemed to be bursting at the "short story" seams. I read more short stories this year than any other years combined and it looks as though 20...
  • Ken
    Blurbs aren't usually worth the paper they're written on, but Stewart O'Nan's take on Alan Heathcock's short story collection, VOLT, about nails it: "In the tradition of Breece D'J Pancake and Kent Meyers, Alan Heathcock turns his small town into a big canvas. Like the tales in WINESBURG, OHIO, the stories in VOLT are full of violence and regret, and the sad desperation of the grotesque."While we are about the business of allusions, I would add H...
  • Richard Thomas
    (This review was originally published at The Nervous Breakdown.)Small town living is always the same, whether it’s in Arkansas, Idaho, or Missouri. Built on the backs of linked story collections like Winesboro, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson and Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock, Volt (Graywolf Press) by Alan Heathcock follows the lives of a handful of lost souls, tragedy washing over them like a great flood, people with names like Winslow, and Jor...
  • Josh
    These stories are awful. Just awful. In being awful, they are great. If you too are someone who can still enjoy the story despite it being about less than uplifting characters, circumstance, and developments then you will love this collection. I would almost guarantee that this one will hit the mark.Others have compared his writings to Cormac McCarthy, William Gay, Daniel Woodrell and the like. I get that, but I think he has a certainly unique vo...
  • Melki
    This is one of those books that, based on glowing reviews, I bought a few years ago, then put on the shelf, just waiting for the right time to read. I planned to luxuriate in this book; to savor each and every story. So, finally, the moment had come. And then . . . Sad sound of head hitting the desk.I could try to pin this on the author by saying HE failed to make me care about any of the characters or their exploits, but I suspect this is not hi...
  • Kirk Smith
    Another top shelf collection of short stories to recommend. Writing style is bold,and full of heart. Imaginative use of reverse/random chronological order in PEACEKEEPER may have been a way to depict the fatigued and scattered thoughts of the female law officer. Very effective, at least for me. Very little blood or gore, I really appreciated being more focused on motivations and emotions. The outstanding one for me was LAZURUS with a very quotabl...
  • Larry Olson
    Bruce Machart (Wake of Forgiveness) recommended Volt by Alan Heathcock that clinched a three-run homer for me. Pretty rare that you read three novels in a row that you are absolutely crazy about but starting with Machart, then Percy’s Wilding set the bar pretty high. Heathcock did not disappoint. I am a big fan of southern gothic literature where a strong focus on the significance of family and community in one’s personal and social life is a...
  • Anthony
    These stories are blistering, distinctive, and moving. They transport their reader fully into their harsh and simmering worlds.
  • Jenny Shank
    http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/...Alan Heathcock’s ‘Volt’ Delivers Cinematic Stories of Small Town NoirBoise writer Alan Heathcock makes a strong debut with Volt.By Jenny Shank, 3-07-11Voltby Alan HeathcockGraywolf Press, 207 pages, $15Boise writer Alan Heathcock‘s gripping debut short story collection Volt is an intricately crafted examination of a fictional small town called Krafton that could be located anywhere in rural America....
  • Brandon Tietz
    Some say that you know you're reading perfect writing when you don't even realize you're reading anymore. The page numbers pass uncounted. You, the reader, devour each word with greed, like a drug. And before you know it, the story is over and you are changed somehow, both resolved and left thinking at the same time.This phenomena happens in Alan Heathcock's collection, "Volt," and it happens right away with his first story, "The Staying Freight,...
  • Lavinia Ludlow
    Heathcock's debut collection of stories, Volt, comes highly concentrated and packs a tight punch. In mere paragraphs, he can describe a scene, a situation, and introduce multiple characters, and he does it naturally and unforced. He has a rustic writing style, reminding me of Mark Twain and Jon Steinbeck, leading me to believe this book was not written in today's fast-paced, technology and information overloaded society, but one of a quieter natu...
  • Bookbeaver
    I came across quite a bit of hype for this collection of stories over at TMN in anticipation of the upcoming ToB so I conjured up a copy through my local inter-library loan process. Among the praises being sung for these stories were comparisons to Carver (yes, these were about the down-trodden, people with less than they deserve (?) or those living a tough live of their own making), McCarthy (well, Heathcock is from Idaho and one assumes his loc...
  • Siobhan Fallon
    Magnificent. The kind of fiction that will keep you up at night, from either staying up too late reading, or tossing and turning with the lights out, trying to digest the stories. These are not tales for the faint hearted or beach readers, but darkly moving tales with electric dialogue and plots twists that jerk like fish on a hook. This is real literature, folks. And Heathcock knows how to make it incredibly exciting to read, from a small town s...
  • Sonya
    We read one story from this collection in my short story class and if there ever were a case for being so wowed by a story that it would almost make you afraid to write because how could you ever write something that good yourself, PEACEKEEPER would be that story. Later...The collection as a whole is strong and violently observant.
  • Tuck
    i read a lot of short stories, most recently:Raymond CarverRaymond Carver: Collected StoriesSherman Alexie War DancesLydia Peelle Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: StoriesWells Tower Everything Ravaged, Everything BurnedAmy Bloom Where the God of Love Hangs OutSam Shephard Day Out of Days: StoriesThomas Lynch Apparition & Late Fictions: A Novella and StoriesRon Rash Burning Bright: StoriesEddie Chuculate Cheyenne Madonnanonrequired reading...
    “All that innocent until guilty bullshit. ‘Cause out here, some are guilty the moment you lay eyes on ‘em, and what the law ought to do is stop ‘em ‘fore they can do what they’re born to do”Whoa. Volt took me by utter surprise and really did a number on me. I was not prepared for the emotional journey I was about to embark upon. I first learned about this collection of short stories in the article “It’s More Than Just Meth Labs ...
  • LindaJ^
    Eight stories based in a fictional small town called Krafton. Helen Farraley, elected sheriff as a joke, is featured in two of the eight -- Peacekeeper and Volt. Jorgen Delmore, Iraq vet, plays a role in two - Furlough and Volt. Vernon, as a 15-yr old boy and as a 50+ pastor, takes the lead in two -- Smoke and Lazurus. Pastor Hamby, never the lead, makes an appearance in The Staying Freight, Peacekeeper, and The Daughter (Vernon just might be Pas...
  • Bernice
    This book has been so well reviewed that I'm a little intimidated to add my two cents. I lack eloquence in this area. I will say that reading the opening story "Staying Freight," made me want to just sit and be grateful for family in the same the way that watching a good friend or family member fight and struggle against some terrible circumstance that leaves us all helpless makes me need to sit back and be grateful. These stories reflect back to...
  • Luke Felt
    I haven't read the entire collection, but if the four stories that I have read are any indication, VOLT by Alan Heathcock is a collection to be reckoned with. Here is my dramatic blurb:The characters in Heathcock's stories are wild and desperate and full of hope (or some approximation of it). They are grief stricken and joyous and courageous and alone. They are, before all else, absolutely human. Reading these stories is like waking up, like reme...
  • Amanda Patchin
    Maybe it's because I just finished McCarthy's No Country for Old Men but Alan Heathcock's Volt reminds me of McCarthy's grimly violent work, though Heathcock's prose is richer - less stark. This collection of short stories also echoes Flannery O'Connor as characters struggle against the macabre ill-luck of a small town, each seeking a shred of peace. Dark but satisfying, I couldn't put this volume down and stayed up rather late last night to fini...
  • Laura Leaney
    I haven't read a book so good in a long time. The kind that makes you re-read a page for the sheer pleasure of it. The kind with writing that punches you in the chest. Stories full of love and darkness. At one point I had to put a bookmark between two pages mid-story in order to get to work, but I put it in my bag so I could sit in the lot and finish it. I felt trembly when I reached the final page.
  • Alyson Hagy
    This is a knockout debut. Stark, dramatic stories that delve deeply into character and setting and the dream-delving powers of language. "Volt," "Peacekeeper," and "Smoke" are among my favorites. This collection is a must-read for readers and writers who crave stories where human actions have sweet and painful consequences.
  • Sue Russell
    Read it for Library Journal Review. Watch for the book in March 2011. It's astonishingly good.