Where the Water-Dogs Laughed

Clark Cox Award
Winston Salem Review
Reading Guide
Chapter One

Praise for Price's previous works

Forceful and gritty, Price's debut is a gripping tale of brutality and sacrifice during the Civil War. . . . Price's narrative is crisp and vivid, with sharply focused descriptions and dialogue.

-- Publishers Weekly (for Hiwassee)

By turns movingly, horrifyingly and bracingly specific . . . Billed as fiction, (it) has the ring of a true story.

-- Charles Dickenson, Chicago Tribune (for Hiwassee)

In the course of researching his roots, Charles Price has created a gem of a novel.

-- Tish Wells, USA Today (for Hiwassee)

To his credit, Price sets up (the) conflict of race, class and economic dismemberment without stereotyping the principal actors. From the wealthiest landowner to the most destitute sharecropper, one has the sense that living, breathing souls populate Freedom's Altar. Thus, while the book's historical accuracy is undeniable, it is the human vulnerability of the characters that makes it memorable.

-- Orlando Sentinel (for Freedom's Altar)

A truly original voice that resonates like the hill country he writes about. Price is leading a new wave of great Southern writing and publishing.

-- Independent Publisher Book Awards 2001 (for The Cock's Spur)

(Price is) a rip-roaring good novelist. He doesn't preach.But the theme is ultimately a serious one, the challenge of duty. Price's well-rounded depiction of hardscrabble challenges . . .test the moral values and plain courage of his people. Their responses make a rousing story of hearts in conflict.

-- Fayetteville Observer (for The Cock's Spur)

Price's passion for details and his earthy portrayal of men living close to the earth - and even closer to the edge - move the story forward, with occasional stops along the way for . . .melodrama.

-- Hal Jacobs, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (for The Cock's Spur)

You can smell the stale odor of farm sweat rise from the backs of these people. The cultures of cock fighting and moonshining are especially well developed. Price brings all these threads of family and character, plot, intrigue and history to a smashing and satisfying conclusion. I predict you'll live with these folks long after you've finished the book.

-- Rodney Barfield, Roanoke Times & World News (for The Cock's Spur)

Tight, finely structured novel. (Price) does more in 188 pages to capture the essence of the war than Ken Burns did in 15 hours of videotape. . . .Believable characters, a high level of drama, and that which is most necessary in first-rate fiction: a sense of surprise and astonishment.

-- Creative Loafing (for Hiwassee)

Good historical fiction brings the world it evokes down to a personal level, a process accomplished very well in this first novel...a tight, almost elegantly written, yet piercingly honest first novel all readers of historical fiction will appreciate.

-- Booklist (for Hiwassee)

Price brings an astonishing verisimilitude to the narrative. The salty, exact language, tough-minded views, hard lives, and bloody deeds of these characters ring true throughout.

-- Kirkus Reviews (for Hiwassee)

Price's forte is description: the sights and smells, the expressions on the faces. . . . an easy, believable read that is hard to put down.

-- John Harmon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (for Hiwassee)

Price continues to produce flawless jewels . . . [He] addresses harsh realities with compassion and clarity. He writes as if from inside the soul of each character so that we see what they saw and feel what they felt. We feel the dislocation, loss, confusion and blazing resentment... One of Price's gifts is the ability to speak in the character's voice without appearing to do so. Moving from narrative to conversation to descriptions of local superstitions and practices, he never fails to choose the perfect cadences.

-- The Roanoke Times (for Freedom's Altar)

Fine literary work, addresses the relationship between the races, an issue Southerners, and all Americans, still face each day. . . .Price incorporates female characters who are essential to the story, and he has done a remarkable job placing the reader into the minds of these women.

-- Lexington Dispatch (for Freedom's Altar)

Price's writing has tremendous power and clarity, and I say with delight that his characters are firmly of their time. There is not a shred of political correctness, no delicacy in the descriptions of the terrible symptoms of consumption and dementia, or . . .torture . . .The novel is very dark at times and is not for the squeamish, but it is also tremendously uplifting and possessed of a spiritual resonance.

-- Susan Hicks, The Historical Novels Review (for The Cock's Spur)

A sweeping novel. . . of pride and honor. . . and dishonor. But it's not romantic, as many books with similar settings have been. The Cock's Spur is not without its tenderness, however. . . . The novels' final chapters certify the theme of redemption without the usual maudlin closure that a lesser writer might bring in to ruin an otherwise crackling good tale.

-- Bill Brooks, Mountain Xpress (for The Cock's Spur)

The Cock's Spur stands alone as a classic work of literature... Barriers of time and culture drop, as Price's gifted, natural writing puts you right on the spot in the early 1880's... It's genealogy made into authentic fiction.

-- Rob Neufeld, Asheville Citizen-Times (for The Cock's Spur)

Price's beautifully evocative prose imparts a sense of immediacy to the landscape of valley, hill, field, stream, and forest and conveys the menace of war's depredations on the daily lives of ordinary people who thought they were involved in a gallant cause, only to be brought face-to-face with its uglier realities."

-- Merle Rubin, The Christian Science Monitor (for Hiwassee)