Loss of history, home place and youth; a panther stalking the fringes of new urban/rural sprawl; oddballs, misfits and folks just holding on--righteously--imbue this exceptional debut collection of short stories, Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing by Lydia Peelle, a Boston-bred Nashville transplant and speechwriter for Governor Phil Bredesen. Peelle's finely crafted stories will more than resonate with anyone suffering through the rapid growth of once-charming towns, the bulldozing of bucolic rolling hills, trillium-strewn woods and generational farms in favor of more McMansions and SuperWalmarts. Serving as a literary counterpoint to REM's 1983 debut album Murmur (remember the album cover's ghostly drape of kudzu?), and the later Fables of the Reconstuction, Lydia Peelle's stories embrace the mystery of rural Southern ways and landscapes "back before," as one of her character's ruefully acknowledges, "everything got ruined." Lydia Peelle will read and sign Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing.
Wed., July 22, 7 p.m., 2009