Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Ed Tarkington

Intolerable to Fate

Nobody gets off scot-free in Tim Johnston’s haunting story collection, Irish Girl

May 6, 2010 Tim Johnston’s Irish Girl, winner of the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize, juxtaposes random incidents of violence and loss with moving portraits of repressed longing and regret. Written in elegiac, lyrical prose, these stories suggest that the past always weighs heavily on the present, and that, sooner or later, we will all be made to pay for our sins—or our innocence. Tim Johnston will appear at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville on May 6 at 7 p.m., and at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis on May 7 at 1 p.m.

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More Than Just a Party Boy

How it Ended: New & Collected Stories functions as a handy career retrospective, confirming that Jay McInerney is a genuine literary artist

April 20, 2010 Since Jay McInerney’s emergence as part of the 1980s literary brat-pack, his work has read much like a series of letters from a cultured but slightly deviant friend: the type of person who runs with the too-fast/too-rich set, frequents the hot clubs, and gets invited to all of those parties we imagine as unspeakably glamorous but which are actually full of hopeless vanity. And yet, like our insider friend—whom we both pity and envy; whom we love but aren’t sure we particularly like—we still find ourselves fascinated by these people and their stories. We want to be invited to their parties, even if we don’t really want to attend them, and we’re grateful to have a reliable correspondent to document every excess.

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The Labyrinths of Memory

In Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, Mississippian Brad Watson returns to familiar territory—and reinvents it

Brad Watson‘s new collection, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, returns to the post-Faulkner, post-modern South of bleak strip malls, cheap motels, tacky Gulf Coast beaches, and lonely outposts surrounded by murky water, the faint odor of decay, and the ever-present specters of longing and loss. But despite the well-known milieu, these new stories demonstrate a mastery of the surreal that lifts them above the typical conventions of Southern Gothic. Brad Watson will be at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis on March 30.

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Writ Large

Intrepid adventurer and National Book Award winner Bob Shacochis talks with Chapter 16

National Book Award winner Bob Shacochis is a breed apart, one of the last survivors of the glory days of magazine fiction and feature writing, the age when writers were bold and swaggering and confident and even a little dangerous—a ruddy, bearded wild man of the mountains, an intrepid travel writer and war correspondent, and a consummate prose stylist. He speaks with Chapter 16 in advance of his Nashville appearance at Montgomery Bell Academy on March 1.

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