A "Washington Post" Top 50 Fiction Book for 2014
Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award finalist
In "Mr.Tall, "his first story collection in two decades, " "Tony Earley brings us seven rueful, bittersweet, riotous studies of characters both ordinary and mythical, seeking to make sense of the world transforming around them. He demonstrates once again the prodigious storytelling gifts that have made him one of the most accomplished writers of his generation.
In the title story, a lonely young bride terrifyingly shares a remote mountain valley with a larger-than-life neighbor, while the grieving widow of "The Cryptozoologist" is sure she's been visited by a Southern variant of Bigfoot. "Have You Seen the Stolen Girl?" introduces us to the ghost of Jesse James, who plagues an elderly woman in the wake of a neighborhood girl's abduction. In "Haunted Castles of the Barrier Islands" a newly empty-nest couple stumbles through an impenetrable Outer Banks fog seeking a new life to replace the one they have lost, while "Yard Art" follows the estranged wife of a famous country singer as she searches for an undiscovered statue by an enigmatic artist. In the concluding novella, "Jack and the Mad Dog," we find Jack-the giant killer of the stories-in full flight from threats both canine and existential.
Earley indelibly maps previously undiscovered territories of the human heart in these melancholy, comic, and occasionally strange stories. Along the way he leads us on a journey from contemporary Nashville to a fantastical land of talking dogs and flying trees, teaching us at every step that, even in the most familiar locales, the ordinary is never just that.
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.
Praise for THE BLUE STAR
"I galloped through the novel and relished every page . . . The Blue Star, like its hero, is irresistible."—Scott Turow, New York Times Book Review
"Tony Earley bewitches his readers with an idyll of boyhood so completely realized that we never want to leave it."—Malcolm Jones, Newsweek
"At the heart of The Blue Star is a good, old-fashioned love story . . . Earley writes with the same lyrical simplicity that he employed in Jim the Boy, calling to mind his literary idol Willa Cather."—Boston Globe
"A very fine book, full of moments of humor and tenderness . . . The Blue Star is, in more ways than one, a wonderful reminder of how we used to live."—John Freeman, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Praise for JIM THE BOY
"From its title to its closing sentence, Tony Earley's first novel returns to basics, back to modernness in the old sense of the world. It's not a big book, just a good one-and in this instance good is higher praise than great."—Walter Kirn, New York Times Book Review
"So perfectly depicted that it exists outside of real time."—Orlando Sentinel
Praise for HERE WE ARE IN PARADISE
"Tony Earley does the practically impossible . . . These stories are both incredibly funny and effortlessly convincing."—Louise Erdrich, author of The Round House and The Plague of Doves
"[Earley] 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, author of The Soul Thief and The Feast of Love
"Each of Tony Earley's stories is like a little novel: fully imagined, fully realized . . . He sees beneath the surface, the calm water of everyday lives, into the hidden depths of the soul."—Lee Smith, author of On Agate Hill and Cakewalk