A Stubborn, Gentle-Hearted Survivor

Robert Bausch talks with Chapter 16 about his novel of the old West, Far As the Eye Can See

by Maria Browning

October 31, 2014 Bobby Hale, the protagonist of Robert Bausch’s Far As the Eye Can See, is a stubborn survivor and a bit of a con man but essentially a gentle soul. Caught up in the movement westward after the Civil War, Hale struggles to find some sort of human connection in a violent, unforgiving environment. Robert Bausch will appear at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on November 7, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.

Published Friday, 31 October 2014

Breathing Another Country’s Air

Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, the inaugural selection for Memphis Reads, reveals the complexity of the immigrant experience

by Maria Browning

October 30, 2014 Sepha Stephanos, the immigrant protagonist of Dinaw Mengestu’s The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, is not the archetypal ambitious newcomer, striving for American success. He’s a sensitive, troubled man bewildered by life in a culture not his own. The novel is the inaugural selection for Memphis’s first city-wide read. On November 4, 2014, Mengestu will visit Memphis to discuss the book at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library and Christian Brothers University. Both events are free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Surveyor in the Back of Beyond

Ron Rash’s Something Rich and Strange reveals a master storyteller charting his terrain

by Emily Choate

October 28, 2014 Ron Rash has achieved wide recognition as a masterful craftsperson, and Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories will seal that reputation. This collection, drawn from more than twenty years of stories set in the Southern Appalachians, confirms Rash as that landscape’s foremost literary mapmaker and guide. Ron Rash will discuss Something Rich and Strange at The Skillery in Nashville on November 4, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Mother Love

In her latest novel, The Midwife, Jolina Petersheim ponders what it means to be a mother

by Faye Jones

October 23, 2014 In Dry Hollow, Tennessee, Hopen Haus takes in unwed pregnant women, and head midwife Rhoda Mummau struggles to provide the best care for them even as she keeps the whole Mennonite community at arm’s length to protect a secret from her own past. For her new novel, The Midwife, Jolina Petersheim taps her Mennonite heritage to consider the question of what exactly makes a woman a mother.

Published Thursday, 23 October 2014

My (Fictional) Home

I learned to be a serious novelist when I moved to Tennessee

by Tasha Alexander

October 20, 2014 After college, I moved a dozen times—from Indiana to New Jersey, Wyoming, Vermont, Connecticut, and Tennessee—before settling in Chicago. Each of these places etched themselves on my psyche, but Nashville, with its fruit tea, tangy barbeque, and hot chicken, was the place where I learned to be a writer.

Published Monday, 20 October 2014

Long Player

Sparks fly from poetry, prose, art, and music in Language Lessons, the first title released by Nashville’s Third Man Books

by Randy Fox

October 16, 2014 The first publication from Nashville’s Third Man Books, Language Lessons: Volume One, is a diverse collection of poetry, prose, art, and music. Editors Chet Weise and Ben Swank present material in a unique format that demonstrates the excitement of human language beyond the simple printed page.

Published Thursday, 16 October 2014

Vagabonds and Gurus

In Darcey Steinke’s novel Sister Golden Hair, the spiritual path encompasses everything from Bibles to Bowie

by Emily Choate

October 14, 2014 When Jesse’s father gets thrown out of the Methodist ministry in the early seventies, her family enters the vagabond spiritual path so prominent in that era, and Jesse negotiates her awkward ride into adolescence through encounters with her semi-transient neighbors. Darcey Steinke will discuss her new novel, Sister Golden Hair, at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on October 16, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.

Published Tuesday, 14 October 2014

All Together Now

A Chapter 16 writer considers the collective spirit of the Southern Festival of Books

by Maria Browning

October 10, 2014 The Southern Festival of Books is big, varied, and one of the most inclusive cultural events around. Chapter 16’s Maria Browning considers the special pleasure of the festival’s collective spirit. The twenty-sixth annual Southern Festival of Books will take place in Nashville October 10-12, 2014, at Legislative Plaza and the Nashville Public Library. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Friday, 10 October 2014

Beyond Bullets and Battles

Redeployment, Phil Klay’s debut story collection, considers the complexity of modern warfare

by Ralph Bowden

October 9, 2014 Redeployment—Phil Klay’s debut story collection, which has just been long-listed for the National Book Award—considers the complexity of modern warfare, where fighting units compete for glory; corpse-eating dogs have to be shot; and soldiers are counseled, patched up, or shipped home in a bag. Klay will appear at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Impossible Reach of History

Rebecca Makkai’s second novel unearths a century’s worth of family secrets

by Tina LoTufo

October 9, 2014 Rebecca Makkai’s new novel, The Hundred-Year House, reveals its secrets slowly, layer by layer, as the reader travels back in time from 1999 to 1900. At the center of the story is a house that becomes a character in its own right as Makkai combines straightforward narrative with snippets of poetry, telegrams, and letters to create a mood that is both modern and mysterious, historical and haunting. Makkai will appear at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 9 October 2014

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