Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Sean Kinch

Indians, Cattle, and Oil

Philipp Meyer’s The Son covers all the bases in an epic novel of Texas

June 19, 2013 Philipp Meyer’s novel The Son ranges across Texas history from the years of the Republic to the oil boom of the 1980s, from the Comanches of the West to the Mexican ranches in the South, portraying a state steeped in violence and injustice. Focused on three generations of a single family, the novel punctures myths of the independent cowboy and the virtuous Native American, but it also provides a nostalgic view of a beautiful land all-too-quickly destroyed by commercial exploitation. Meyer will discuss The Son at Parnassus Books in Nashville on June 25 at 6:30 p.m.

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Twisted Souls

In A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra charts the crossfire of dirty wars

May 15, 2013 Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena puts a human face on the dehumanizing forces of war, revealing the ways in which the lives of people in a small mountain village in Chechnya are overturned by fifteen years of conflict with the Russian Federation. Memorials to the disappeared are a form of defiance, and even a single life spared from obliteration feels like a moral victory. Anthony Marra will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville at 2 p.m. on May 18, 2013.

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Off the Grid

Isabel Allende discusses her new novel, Maya’s Notebook, and explains her affection for vagabonds and the terrors of modern parenting

April 29, 2013 Isabel Allende’s new novel, Maya’s Notebook, charts a young woman’s downward spiral into addiction and crime, as well as her path toward healing and redemption. Maya tells the story in her own words, providing an intimate vantage on the trauma that leads to the desire for self-destruction and the love required to overcome it. Allende spoke with Chapter 16 prior to her reading at the Nashville Public Library on May 3 at 6:15 p.m. The event, part of the Salon@615 series, is free and open to the public.

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Fly Away Home

In Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, a warming climate inspires an East Tennessee showdown

November 19, 2012 Barbara Kingsolver’s epic 1998 novel, The Poisonwood Bible, offers a profound inquiry into the nature of faith and the meaning of family. At its core, her new novel asks another fundamental question: “Where will we go from here?” On November 27, Barbara Kingsolver will discuss Flight Behavior at the Nashville Public Library as part of the Salon@615 series. The event begins at 6:15 p.m.; doors open at 5:45.

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Tiny Dreams

To learn to soar, sometimes all it takes is a hero

November 5, 2012 While my friends played Nerf football in the street or debated Big Ten versus Southwest Conference defenses, I’d bike over to Gullett Elementary with my junior-sized basketballs and spend afternoons on the school’s asphalt courts accompanied only by the imaginative projections of my heroes. No one witnessed the games, but I never felt alone—not with the Phoenix Suns’ Walter Davis on my wing and Alvan Adams on the block, not playing defense against Havlicek’s Celtics or trying to match the ball-handling panache of the Knicks’ Walt Frazier. I’d check the box scores for my heroes—guys like David Thompson or Rick Barry—and then re-create their statistics, making the same number of field goals and free throws, high-fiving teammates when the game was complete.

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Across the Generations

Louise Erdrich’s new novel is a mystery, a coming-of-age-tale, and a microcosm of Indian-Anglo relations, all at once

October 2, 2012 Louise Erdrich does not fit into any pigeonhole. Her career, spanning three decades and twenty-six books, may once have belonged in the category of the “Native American renaissance” of the late-twentieth century, but that classification is now too restrictive. Her work, which still typically depicts Indians of the American Midwest, reaches toward the universal even as it remains rooted in the particulars of the lives of the Indians who were driven from traditional lands and into the dubious safety of reservations. On October 9 at 6:15 p.m., Louise Erdrich will discuss The Round House at the Nashville Public Library as part of the Salon@615 series. The event is free and open to the public.

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