Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Book Review: Eveningland: Stories by Michael Knight

Title: Eveningland: Stories
Author: Michael Knight
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Publication Date: 7 March 2017
Pages: 289
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Short Stories
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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Long considered a master of the form and an essential voice in American fiction, Michael Knight’s stories have been lauded by writers such Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Gilbert, Barry Hannah, and Richard Bausch. Now, with Eveningland he returns to the form that launched his career, delivering an arresting collection of interlinked stories set among the “right kind of Mobile family” in the years preceding a devastating hurricane.

Grappling with dramas both epic and personal, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the “unspeakable misgivings of contentment,”
Eveningland captures with crystalline poeticism and perfect authenticity of place the ways in which ordinary life astounds us with its complexity. A teenaged girl with a taste for violence holds a burglar hostage in her house on New Year’s Eve; a middle aged couple examines the intricacies of their marriage as they prepare to throw a party; and a real estate mogul in the throes of grief buys up all the property on an island only to be accused of madness by his daughters. These stories, told with economy and precision, infused with humor and pathos, excavate brilliantly the latent desires and motivations that drive life forward. (Goodreads Synopsis)

Eveningland is a wonderful collection of stories that caught my imagination right from the first page. As a short story writer myself, it is a joy to read works by someone who is such an expert in the form. Every tale is beautifully paced and structured, with just the right amount of description and character development to draw the reader in. I particularly love the way the stories are all set within the same place, with minor characters that reappear again and again, linking the individual tales into a cohesive glimpse of this world. Masterful storytelling. I would certainly seek out more works by Michael Knight in the future.

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