Eveningland

by Michael Knight


Grove/Atlantic, Inc. / 304 pages / ISBN 978-0-8021-2597-2 / March 7, 2017


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“VERDICT: Essential for fans of literary fiction...

Winner of a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award special citation, Knight (The Typist; Dogfight: And Other Stories) frequently appears in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, and the short stories in this new, thematically linked collection show why. Superbly drawn, all of the pieces are set in Mobile Bay, AL, on the Gulf of Mexico, and they seek to map complex, difficult, often hidden psychological and emotional truths. As suggested by the title, many of the stories feature characters in the later stages of life, confronting the passage of time, regret, and loves lost and found-all of which is handled with great humility, insight, and compassion. Two entries may turn out to be classics. ‘Water and Oil’ is a wonderfully poignant story about first love, set at a ma­rina on the Gulf, while ‘Smash and Grab’ offers a remarkable take on a thief who robs homes and meets his match in the most un­likely way in a sleepy suburban commu­nity. VERDICT: Essential for fans of literary fiction.”

—Library Journal starred review of Eveningland

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Michael Knight Eveningland Tour Schedule


Washington, DC
February 8–11
AWP CONFERENCE
Washington Convention Center & Washington Marriott Marquis
Washington, DC 20001

Oxford, MS
Thursday, March 2, 6pm
SQUARE BOOKS
160 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655

Knoxville, TN
Tuesday, March 7, 6pm
UNION AVE BOOKS
517 Union Ave
Knoxville, TN 37902

Asheville, NC
Wednesday, March 8, 6pm
MALAPROP'S BOOKSTORE & CAFE
55 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Southern Pines, NC
Thursday, March 9, 5pm
COUNTRY BOOKSHOP
140 NW Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Fairhope, AL
Tuesday, March 14, 6pm
PAGE & PALETTE
32 S. Section St.
Fairhope, AL 36532

Homewood, AL
Wednesday, March 15, 4pm
ALABAMA BOOKSMITH
2626 19th Place
Homewood, AL 35209

Greenwood, MS
Thursday, March 16, 5:30pm
TURNROW BOOK COMPANY
304 Howard Street
Greenwood, MS 38930

Jackson, MS
Friday, March 17, 5pm
LEMURIA BOOKSTORE
202 Banner Hall
4465 I-55 North

Richmond, VA
Wednesday, March 22, 6:30pm
FOUNTAIN BOOKSTORE
1312 E. Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Charlottesville, VA
Thursday, March 23
Virginia Festival of the Book

Culhowee, NC
Tuesday, April 4, 7:30pm
SPRING LITERARY FESTIVAL
UC Theater, 3rd floor of the A.K. Hinds University Center
Western Carolina University
Culhowee, NC 28723

Nashville, TN
Saturday, April 8, 2:00pm
PARNASSUS BOOKS
3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14
Nashville, TN 37215

Athens, GA
Tuesday, April 11, 6:30pm
AVID BOOKSHOP
493 Prince Ave.
Athens, GA 30601

Atlanta, GA
Wednesday, April 12, 7pm
THE WRECKING BAR
“Writers at the Wrecking Bar"
Hosted by A Cappella Books
292 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307

Tallahassee, FL
Thursday, April 13, 5:30pm
MIDTOWN READER
1123 Thomasville Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Monroeville, AL
April 20–21
ALABAMA WRITERS SYMPOSIUM
Alabama Southern
Monroeville, AL 36460

Montgomery, AL
Saturday, April 22
ALABAMA BOOK FESTIVAL
Old Alabama Town
301 Columbus St
Montgomery, AL 36104

Florence, AL
Saturday, April 29
READER RIOT
350 N. Wood Ave.
Florence, AL 35630

Praise for Eveningland


Sublime . . . Profound . . . While reading Eveningland, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another legendary Alabama-born story writer: the great Tobias Wolff. Like Wolff, the brilliance of Knight’s economy is most obvious in his endings, which nearly every time achieve a difficult, two-pronged task: not only do they recast and contextualize each sentence leading up to it, but extend the stories’ and the characters’ potential into an imaginative infinity. Also like Wolff, Knight has a generous heart and an eye for quirky, comedic irony.”

—David Byron Queen, Deep South Magazine

Throughout this collection, the beauty and danger of Mobile Bay itself becomes a barometer of the characters’ choices and the larger forces which press on their lives. Sometimes the gentle tides of the water bring quiet reassurance, though loss, too, can arrive like a slow, encroaching threat, imperceptible from the shore...Eveningland is tough to put down, thanks to Knight’s masterful command of pacing and suspense. The stories make surprising reversals, and in the process they leave us with the same feeling toward these characters that the Bay instills in them—a sense that whatever the upheavals and changeability of weather may reveal to us, deeper, unreachable mysteries will always lurk beneath the surface.”

—Emily Choate, Chapter 16

First things first: Michael Knight’s prose is pristine, as watertight as the skiffs, barges, and tankers that occupy Mobile Bay...The South is present here—fresh crabmeat, Spanish moss, reverberations of the Civil War—but never nostalgic or self-indulgent. A sense of place and past is strong, but it never overshadows the compelling human narratives at the center of every story...Eveningland is both expansive and contained, exploratory and insular...Each piece is as impeccable and varied as Knight’s readers have come to expect.”

—Kevin Kotur, The Kansas City Star

The interconnected stories in this exquisitely crafted collection explore the lives of characters living in and around Mobile, Ala., in the years preceding the destruction wrought by a fictional hurricane. A master of the short story, Knight (The Typist) distills some of life’s most significant and transformative experiences into a deceptively small amount of space...Peppered throughout with regional history that firmly places the reader in the collection’s southern setting, these often funny and heartfelt stories explore life in its messy fullness while also exuding a deep, wistful wisdom.”

—Publisher’s Weekly starred review

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Knight’s style is deceptively plainspoken, with low-key wit and a laconic precision that often ripens, as a story proceeds, into poignancy...the centerpiece and triumph of the collection is its closing novella, Landfall, which tells with enormous finesse, speed, and concision, like a family saga in demi-glace reduction, the mingled stories of a shipyard-owning family—the widow of the paterfamilias, her daughter and two sons, the daughter’s two daughters, one son’s beloved dog—as a hurricane bears down on Mobile. From a distinguished Southern writer, a very fine collection capped by a masterful novella.”

—Kirkus Reviews starred review

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The characters in Michael Knight’s linked story collection, Eveningland, live in the finer precincts of Mobile, Alabama, or else across the bay in blithe Fairhope...what links these stories isn’t the cursory connections that characters in one tale have with those in another—on occasion they’ll hop over to another story for a cocktail—nor is it Knight’s calibrated sociological rendering, his narrative taxonomy of this Gulf Coast tribe. What binds this collection instead, and what ultimately imbues Eveningland with novelistic force, is the growing, smudgy presence of a cloud on the horizon, in some cases both literal and figurative, toward which every story tilts.”

—Jonathan Miles

for Garden & Gun, February/March 2017

“This new collection gives us a handful of new, shorter gems and one long, beautiful piece you’ll not be able to forget. With each selection, Knight finds people in crisis and he makes that crisis both deeply personal and deeply universal. His literary god-uncles, Fitzgerald and Cheever, would be proud of their nephew and his work. As for the rest of us, how fortunate we are, how truly fortunate, to be able to read his fiction. Michael Knight is an American master.”

—Tom Franklin

author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

There’s something almost holy in the way Michael Knight writes about his native Alabama, emotional honesty and acuteness of vision leavened with genuine reverence for these people and this place. Taken individually these stories are beautifully crafted—often funny, just as often heartbreaking, always surprising. Taken together, they paint a portrait that is on its surface as refined as the region’s most wistful vision of itself. Beneath that gracious veneer, however, lurk depths of loss and longing that speak to what it means to be alive no matter where you live.”

—Adam Johnson

author of The Orphan Master's Son

Michael Knight is a supremely gifted writer and his latest collection—Eveningland—offers rich and lasting proof of this on every page. I am in awe of how skillfully he manages tension and suspense on the page—a slow burning flame that might explode or not, might manifest as tragedy in the physical world or simply the painful collapse of a human heart. There is humor and grief and an aching sense of longing that is nearly impossible to catch and put on the page. But Michael Knight does it and not only that, he does it beautifully.”

—Jill McCorkle

author of Life After Life

Books



In his powerful new short story cycle, Alabama-born short story virtuoso Michael Knight illuminates the everyday beauty and heartache of life along the shores of serene, history-haunted Mobile Bay in the years preceding a devastating hurricane.

Eveningland / Stories / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-2597-2 / 304 pp. / Mar. 2017

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“Michael Knight tells the story of generals, war, and occupation through the eyes of a typist who proves himself to be the calm at the center of the storm. The result is this elegant, thoughtful, and resonant novel.”
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

The Typist / A Novel / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-4536-9 / 209 pp. / Aug. 2010

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“. . . There is a long tradition of fiction using holiday gatherings as a vehicle for examining relationships under stress...Michael Knight’s The Holiday Season joins this crowded table and makes itself at home.”
—Floyd Skloot, The New York Times Book Review

The Holiday Season / Novellas / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-1857-8 / 144 pp. / Nov. 2007

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“Arresting . . . Knight has the rare power to make a setting breathe, to invest it with a vitality that seems as authentic and intense as the pulsebeats of his characters.”
—Jonathan Miles,
The New York Times Book Review

Goodnight, Nobody / Stories / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8711-3867-5 / 192 pp. / Feb. 2003

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“Every word in this deeply resonant novel is pure gold.” ”
—The Washington Post Book World


“A novel by a writer of the first rank.”
—Esquire


“Spellbinding.”
—Redbook

Divining Rod / A Novel / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-4497-3 / 144 pp. / Oct. 1998

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“Ten stories cut like gems from American family life.”
—Los Angeles Times


“[These stories] gather their considerable power not from stylistic flash or conceptual cleverness but from the fact that they tell us only what we need to know.”
—Playboy

Dogfight / Stories / Cloth ISBN 978-0-8021-4330-3 / 160 pp. / Oct. 1998

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