Fiction

Freedom from the Ordinary

Maggie Shipstead’s Astonish Me illuminates the ballet world’s relentless pursuit of perfection

by Emily Choate

August 21, 2014 The ballet dancers in Maggie Shipstead’s novel, Astonish Me, are engaged in a daily war against their mortal limitations. Equal parts brutality and beauty, ballet requires tough sacrifices in exchange for the elusive possibility of transcendence. Maggie Shipstead will discuss Astonish Me 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, 21 August 2014

Drawing the Mythic Out of the Commonplace

Tony Earley explores the perils of life’s second acts with the tender and raucous Mr. Tall

by Ed Tarkington

August 19, 2014 Since the publication of his first story collection some twenty years ago, Tony Earley has built a body of work defined by extraordinary insight into the comedy, pathos, and wonder of the commonplace. In his new collection, Mr. Tall, Earley widens the scope of his frequently hilarious, reliably lyrical stories. Earley will discuss Mr. Tall at Parnassus Books in Nashville on August 26, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., and at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014.

Published Tuesday, 19 August 2014

This Spiteful Old House

In Courtney Miller Santo’s new novel, a renovation project tests the limits of family ties

by Tina LoTufo

August 15, 2014 The locals call it “Spite House,” the structure at the center of Courtney Miller Santo’s new novel, Three Story House. Lizzie Linwood, granddaughter of the man who built the Memphis home to “spite” his brother, joins forces with her two cousins to renovate the dilapidated structure, exposing old wounds and revealing buried truths along the way. Courtney Miller Santo will appear at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis on August 19, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. and at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Friday, 15 August 2014

Behind the Quirks

Martha Woodroof explores the heartaches and hopes at a small fictional college

by Faye Jones

August 14, 2014 Martha Woodroof’s debut novel, Small Blessings, features a collection of eccentrics at a small women’s college in Virginia and examines the heartaches and hopes beneath their quirks. Woodroof will discuss Small Blessings at Union Ave. Books in Knoxville on August 24, 2014, at 2 p.m., and at Parnassus Books in Nashville on August 25, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.

Published Thursday, 14 August 2014

Unpacking the Past

Christina Baker Kline binds youth and age in a story of survival

by Lyda Phillips

August 8, 2014 After five novels, Christina Baker Kline has her first bestseller with Orphan Train, which has sold more than one million copies thanks to community-reading projects and book clubs. This quiet novel dissects not only a remarkable historical phenomenon but also the enduring emotional scars left by family tragedy. Kline will discuss Orphan Train at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014.

Published Friday, 8 August 2014

A Love Letter to Books

In The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin pays homage to readers

by Faye Jones

August 7, 2014 In her new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin celebrates books and those who read them. Based loosely on the hero of George Eliot’s Silas Marner, that high-school standard, A.J. Fikry is a sad man whose life is changed when a baby is left in his store. Gabrielle Zevin will discuss the novel at the Southern Festival of Books, held in Nashville October 10-12, 2014.

Published Thursday, 7 August 2014

Alone Together

Richard Bausch’s Before, During, After is a 9/11 novel that intertwines the upheavals of violence and love

by Emily Choate

August 6, 2014 In Richard Bausch’s new novel, Before, During, After, the events of 9/11 rush Michael Faulk and his fiancée, Natasha Barrett, into a new era. Poised to begin their new life together in Memphis, they find that their experiences of that day have cast their love, and their future, into danger.

Published Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Sloughing Off the Nay-Sayers

How J.T. Ellison learned to ignore the damning voices and get on with writing thrillers

by J.T. Ellison

August 1, 2014 “The farcical means by which I returned to a life as a writer—adopting a stray cat, going to work for the vet who saved her life, mopping up dog urine and watching the castration of a Siamese cat, and then, on day three of this unique torture, herniating a disc and needing back surgery—is fit for fiction itself. During the recovery, I discovered a writer named John Sandford, and something clicked, and I had one, simple, arrogant thought. If he can do it, so can I.” J.T. Ellison will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Friday, 1 August 2014

A Princess in a Tower

In Guests on Earth, beloved novelist Lee Smith reimagines the last days of Zelda Fitzgerald

by Ed Tarkington

July 31, 2014 Lee Smith’s literary gifts make her distinctly qualified to take on the treacherous task of reimagining the last days of Zelda Fitzgerald, the muse behind The Great Gatsby, whose tragic life and more tragic end have haunted readers for generations. Smith will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Thursday, 31 July 2014

Before the Water Came

Amy Greene’s new novel, Long Man, tells the story of a place lost to progress

by Maria Browning

July 29, 2014 In Amy Greene’s richly told second novel, the year is 1936, and the fictional Tennessee town of Yuneetah has been doomed by a TVA dam project. Long Man is the story of a crisis among the community’s last holdouts, and it brings a lost world to life. Greene will appear at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville October 10-12, 2014. All festival events are free and open to the public.

Published Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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