How Fire Runs (Paperback)

A Novel

By Charles Dodd White

Swallow Press, 9780804012287, 272pp.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

List Price: 22.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A chilling, timely reminder of the moral and human costs of racial hatred.

What happens when a delusional white supremacist and his army of followers decide to create a racially pure “Little Europe” within a rural Tennessee community? As the town’s residents grapple with their new reality, minor skirmishes escalate and dirty politics, scandals, and a cataclysmic chain of violence follows. In this uncanny reflection of our time, award-winning novelist Charles Dodd White asks whether Americans can save themselves from their worst impulses and considers the consequences when this salvation comes too late.

About the Author

Charles Dodd White is the author of four novels, including two from Swallow Press: How Fire Runs and In the House of Wilderness. He has received the Appalachian Book of the Year Award and the Chaffin Award for his fiction. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he is an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College.

Praise For How Fire Runs: A Novel

“Both action-packed and introspective, How Fire Runs is a timely literary thriller that is hard to put down. Charles Dodd White continues to prove himself as one of the best prose stylists of Appalachian literature in a novel that transcends region to become raw commentary on this volatile moment in America.”—Silas House, author of Southernmost

How Fire Runs is at once elemental and blisteringly contemporary—a story rooted in our past, yet crackling amid the fires of the American present. Charles Dodd White writes with the steady hand of a master, confronting complicated truths and emotions with clear eyes and grace, giving us a constellation of characters grappling over the identity of their town… and America itself. This is a brave and important novel from one of our best.”—Taylor Brown, author of Pride of Eden

“Charles Dodd White puts to use his deep knowledge of the people who live in eastern Tennessee, the good as well as the bad. It’s a powerful portrayal of contemporary life in a landscape that serves as its own omnipresent character. White’s work gets better and better.”—Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark

“A work of artistic merit and a significant (and timely) contribution to our ongoing national discussion of extremism.”—Mark Powell, author of Firebird: A Novel

“Line for line, White is one of the most talented writers at work in the American South.”—David Joy, author of The Line that Held Us