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Somehow Form a Family: Stories That Are Mostly Trueby Tony Earley
Synopses & Reviews
The American genius for language lies in understatement...Earley has the courage to return to artistic first principals: clarity, balance, ease. (The New York Times Book Review)
Tony Earley's view of the world is from the edge, at the cusp. Which is what this collection of personal essays is about - about how he stands with one foot in the rural mountains of his birth and upbringing and the other in the Brady Bunch's split-level.
Born thirty-nine years ago, Earley was too late to be a Baby Boomer, too soon to be a Gen Xer. He grew up in the North Carolina mountains but says, "I go around telling anyone who will listen that I am from the country, but deep down I know it's a lie. I grew up on Gilligan's Island, in Mayberry, I'm not sure where."
In a prose style that is deceptively simple (E. B. White comes to mind), Earley confronts the big things - death, civilization, family, his own clinical depression - with wit and grace, without looking away or smirking. He writes about how he's neither an adherent to the fundamentalism of his boyhood nor an unbeliever, and about how hard it is to find your place in the world without letting go of your authenticity.
Clearly having lost patience with irony, Tony Earley is on a journey from faith, through disbelief, and into a new faith.and a new family. And he is a writer so good at his craft that you don't read his words so much as inhale them. His first book of nonfiction is one of those unexpected classics in which a great writer rips open his heart and takes the reader inside for a no-holds-barred tour.
This is the book that in hardcover won unanimous praise from reviewers, who called it "beautiful and transcendent" (The Boston Globe), a book that "measures the arc of a culture's mortality in small, personal increments" (Star Tribune, Minneapolis), is written "in a poker-faced style that always seems on the verge of exploding into manic laughter or howls of pain" (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
They're right. Tony Earley is a writer so good at his craft that you don't read his words so much as inhale them. His first book of nonfiction is one of those unexpected classics, like Ann Lamott's Traveling Mercies, in which a great writer rips open his/her heart and takes the reader inside for a no-holds-barred tour.
In a prose style that is deceptively simple, Earley confronts the big things-God, death, civilization, family, his own clinical depression-with wit and grace, without looking away or smirking.
Praise for Tony Earley
"Tony Earley has a wonderful gift for deep observation, exact and wise and often funny." (Ellen Currie, The New York Times Book Review)
"He writes his stories with care, word by word and sentence by sentence, and they are distinguished by their feeling for the specifics of lives lived in one place, and for their intelligence, and for their humor." (Charles Baxter)
"He sees beneath the surface, the calm water of everyday lives, into the hidden depths of the soul." (Lee Smith)
"What this guy writes is so true it makes sweat pop out on your forehead. Stay tuned. There's more to come." (Robert Inman)
Praise for his best-selling novel, Jim the Boy
"A radiant, knowing, pitch-perfect parable of childhood." (The New York Times)
"A dazzling first novelTThe apparent casualness of the plot masks extraordinary craft." (Newsweek)
"This exquisitely wrought storyTexhibits a clear-eyed maturity, and an understated daring, rarely seen in the most cutting-edge adult fiction." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"An oddly wonderful period pieceTThis little masterpiece may make you feel like flying." (The Seattle Times)
About the Author
Tony Earley was selected by Granta as one of today's best young writers, The New Yorker featured him in its best young fiction writers issue, and his first novel, Jim the Boy, became a national best-seller. He is also the author of a highly praised collection of short stories, Here We Are in Paradise. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and teaches writing at Vanderbilt University.
Table of Contents
Somehow Form a Family (1)
Deer Season, 1974 (51)
Shooting the Cat (57)
The Quare Gene (67)
The Courting Garden (81)
Ghost Stories (87)
A Worn Path (113)
Granny's Bridge (127)
Tour de Fax (137)
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