SEATS SOLD OUT, STANDING ROOM ONLY AVAILABLE: Lee Smith presents SILVER ALERT with Jill McCorkle
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - Signing Line at 5:30 pm, Talk begins at 6:00 pm
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This funny and endearing novel of family, secrets, and aging follows an elderly man who heads off on a joyride with a new young friend—who may have some secrets of her own.
A driving force in literature, the one and only Lee Smith returns with a road trip novel, a story full of hope and humor about not going away quietly—at any age. Aging Herb’s charmed life with his dear wife, Susan, in their Key West house is coming undone. Susan now needs constant care, and Herb is in denial about his own ailing health. The one bright spot is the arrival of an endlessly optimistic manicurist calling herself Renee. She sings to Susan during manicures, gets her to paint, and brings her a sense of contentment. But then Herb and Susan’s adult children arrive to stage an intervention on their stubborn, independent father, and as a consequence, Renee’s gig with Susan—and her grand plans for her own life—start to unravel as well. So much had seemed as if it could change for Renee, who is not the happy, uncomplicated young girl she pretends to be. She is actually named Dee Dee, and she’s fleeing a dark past.
And Herb can’t just let go of all that he has ever had. So, he suggests one last joy ride in his Porsche. And the two take off north out of Key West, soon setting off a Silver Alert. As the unlikely friendship between Herb and Dee Dee deepens, we see how as one life is closing down, another opens up. In this buoyant novel, the masterful Smith asks: What do we deserve? And how do we make it our own? Sometimes, you just have to seize the wheel.
Lee Smith began writing stories at the age of nine and selling them for a nickel apiece. Since then, she has written seventeen works of fiction, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, Guests on Earth, and most recently, Dimestore. She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.
Jill McCorkle has the distinction of having published her first two novels on the same day in 1984. Of these novels, the New York Times Book Review said: "one suspects the author of The Cheer Leader is a born novelist. With July 7th, she is also a full grown one." Since then she has published five other novels—most recently, Hieroglyphics-- and four collections of short stories. Five of her books have been named New York Times notable books and four of her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories. McCorkle has received the New England Booksellers Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, the North Carolina Award for Literature and the Thomas Wolfe Prize; she was recently inducted into the NC Literary Hall of Fame. McCorkle has taught at Harvard, Brandeis and NC State where she remains affiliated with the MFA Program in creative writing and she is core faculty in the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has a new collection of stories, Old Crimes, being published by Algonquin Books in January 2024.