Summary and book reviews of Eveningland by Michael Knight

Eveningland

Stories

by Michael Knight

Eveningland by Michael Knight
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Mar 2017, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

These stories, told with economy and precision, infused with humor and pathos, excavate brilliantly the latent desires and motivations that drive life forward.

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.

water and oil

None of this is true. All of this is true. I want to tell you about a boy in a boat on a nameless creek. About dawn reflected on the water but so dim over the swamp that it failed to illuminate the spaces between the trees.

The boy's name was Henry Rufus Bragg and though he was seventeen years old and would most likely have been offended by my description, there was still enough boy about him that the word remains appropriate. He was handsome but in an unfinished way, especially in summer when the sun freckled his nose and cheeks, blurring his features, a faint constellation half a shade darker than his tan. Six foot three now and not through yet, his bones ached at night with growing pains. A late bloomer, his mother called him, the last of the model airplane builders, a tender boy, a quiet boy, an odd and earnest boy who, like the keeper of some lost art, memorized old knockknock jokes and repeated them in his head when he was bored.

He lived on the nameless creek...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The first thing you notice about Michael Knight's Alabama-based Eveningland is his lovingly gentle writing style that is lyrical without being flowery. Knight imbues the stories within this collection with an attention to landscape and atmosphere that lend them a level of affection, thereby implying his personal relationship with their location. However, I was also struck by how he never allows place to overshadow the emotional connection to his characters. In fact, for the most part, these stories are universal enough that they could be located anywhere. Having never been to Alabama, I'm not completely sure if this is wholly positive.   (Reviewed by Davida Chazan).

Full Review Members Only (480 words).

Media Reviews

Washington Independent Review of Books

With both suspense and humor, Knight explores “the going under of the evening land” in this diverse collection. A thought-provoking and deeply satisfying reading experience, Eveningland evokes the Old South without sentimentalizing its loss. Yet its characters, and the reader, too, know that it’s evening. And it’s very late.

New York Times Book Review

Knight pays careful, writerly attention to the details of desperation. His characters?often entombed in middle-age despair?in their weakened, even futile attempts to shift position, if not actually escape, give a reader the sensation of watching the lateral movements of blobs of life wriggling beneath a microscope.

New York Times Book Review

Michael Knight has the rare power to make a setting breathe, to invest it with a vitality that seems as authentic and intense as the pulse beats of his characters.

Booklist

Knight’s stories are at once simple and intricate, weaving the particulars of geography and weather into family loss from death, divorce, and estrangement, and the awful weight of grief.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Peppered throughout with regional history that to 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.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. From a distinguished Southern writer, a very fine collection capped by a masterful novella.

Author Blurb Barry Hannah
Michael Knight is more than a master of the short story. He knows the true pace of life and does not cheat it, all the while offering whopping entertainment.

Author Blurb Adam Johnson
This collection of linked stories is as potent as any novel I have read in a long, long time.

Author Blurb Jill McCorkle
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.

Author Blurb Tom Franklin
This new collection gives us a handful of new, shorter gems and one long, beautiful piece you'll not be able to forget ... 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.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

A Short History of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras MasksSome of the action in Michael Knight's story "Our Lady of the Roses" takes place during Mardi Gras. The protagonist notes that the first celebration was in Mobile and not in New Orleans. That piqued my curiosity and I decided to do some research into this most colorful holiday.

The first thing I found was that, like many of our modern religious traditions, Mardi Gras (which translates to mean "Fat Tuesday") has its origins in paganism, in this case it is linked to spring and fertility. Apparently it was the Roman Catholics who adapted this custom (also known as Carnival, from the Latin carnis, which means flesh/meat and levare which means to leave off) to do something fun - a last fling, if you will - just prior to the 40 days of Lent ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Eveningland, try these:

  • Always Happy Hour jacket

    Always Happy Hour

    by Mary Miller

    Published 2017

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Combining hard-edged prose and savage Southern charm, Mary Miller showcases biting contemporary talent at its best. In The Last Days of California, she now reaches new heights with this collection of shockingly relatable, ill-fated love stories.

  • November Storm jacket

    November Storm

    by Robert Oldshue

    Published 2016

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In upstate New York, a November storm is one that comes early in the season. If it catches people off-guard, it can change them in the ways Oldshue's characters are changed by different but equally surprising storms.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Smoke
    by Dan Vyleta
    In Dan Vyleta's universe, set in an alternate Victorian England, people engaging in sinful thought ...
  • Book Jacket: Golden Hill
    Golden Hill
    by Francis Spufford
    Spufford brings American history to raucous life through the story of Mr. Richard Smith, a ...
  • Book Jacket: Midnight at the Electric
    Midnight at the Electric
    by Jodi Lynn Anderson
    The world changes, but humanity stays the same. Whether a book takes place in the year 1510 or 2010,...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Almost Sisters
    by Joshilyn Jackson

    A powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.