Sheldon Lee Compton. Bottom Dog Press, $17 paperback (164p) ISBN: 9781933964898
In Sheldon Lee Compton's debut novel, Brown Bottle, we are immediately introduced to our protagonist - and on occasion antagonist - Wade Brown-Bottle Taylor, a complicated man whose contradictory nature reflects the opposing extremes found in his Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky, a place of vast loneliness, natural beauty and man-made madness.
The only aspect of life closer to Wade's heart than the warm buzz of hard drink is his somewhat fragile relationship with his nephew, Nick. Upon discovering his nephew's increasing appetite for pharmaceuticals, Wade Taylor takes it on himself to intervene, a decision that sets him off on his own redemptive path. And it is a pathway paved with deceit, betrayal and blood.
While Wade faces problems typical of poverty-stricken Appalachia, in many ways he is a portrait of everyman. His battle is a familiar one as he struggles to make sense of the world around him, and, more importantly, his part in it.