Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Madison Smartt Bell

The Weight of Blood and History

Veteran novelist Madison Smartt Bell talks with debut novelist Christopher Hebert about the lush landscape and irrepressible people of Haiti

July 30, 2012 Nashville native Madison Smartt Bell is the author of thirteen novels and two short story collections, though he is perhaps best known for a highly acclaimed trio of novels on the Haitian revolution: All Souls Rising (a National Book Award finalist), Master of the Crossroads, and The Stone That the Builder Refused. Today he talks with debut Knoxville novelist, Christopher Hebert, whose new novel is set in an unnamed Caribbean country that bears a striking resemblance to Haiti. “One feels the weight of the tropical air in reading this book,” Bell writes, “and the weight of blood and history behind it.” Madison Smartt Bell and Christopher Hebert will appear at the twenty-fourth annual Southern Festival of Books, held October 12-14 at Legislative Plaza in Nashville. All events are free and open to the public.

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Book Excerpt: Madison Smartt Bell's The Color of Night

In the aftermath of 9/11, not everyone is weeping

February 21, 2011 In his new novel, The Color of Night, Madison Smartt Bell takes readers into the mind of Mae, a woman who has channeled the incestuous abuse of her childhood into a mystical, eroticized obsession with violence and death. Televised images of the 9/11 attacks thrill her, spurring memories of a sojourn with a Manson-like cult and of a woman, Laurel, who was her lover and ally there. What follows is an excerpt from the book, which hits shelves April 5.

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Book Excerpt: Madison Smartt Bell’s The Color of Night

In the aftermath of 9/11, not everyone is weeping

February 21, 2011 In his new novel, The Color of Night, Madison Smartt Bell takes readers into the mind of Mae, a woman who has channeled the incestuous abuse of her childhood into a mystical, eroticized obsession with violence and death. Televised images of the 9/11 attacks thrill her, spurring memories of a sojourn with a Manson-like cult and of a woman, Laurel, who was her lover and ally there. What follows is an excerpt from the book, which hits shelves April 5.

Read more