Sumner on . . .
Common Threads Just as there’s always a Southerner in my story, no matter where it’s set, there’s always a matriarch. There’s something about the way a woman of a certain age tells a story—I can lean back into it.
Setting I have this strange need to miss a place before I can write about it. My longing for New Mexico inspired The Ghost of Milagro Creek. My next novel is set in Alaska, where I lived for two years in the late nineties.
Southern Roots We have a past we can’t get away from. We tell stories. We love the music of the English language and tolerate ambiguity, perhaps even court it. We’re like rich people who have been very poor, or poor people who have been very rich. I do consider myself a Southern writer, but I’ll end up in New Mexico.
The Transition from Wife to Widow Soul mate. Soul mate gone.
(Grand Central Publishing, $13.99 paperback)
This intensely enjoyable novel of psychological terror by onetime Brunswick resident George Dawes Green (The Juror) made lots of best-of lists when it was released last year. Now available in paperback, it deserves an even wider audience. In Green’s brilliant tale, a Georgia family wins a $318 million lottery and is taken hostage by two con men intent on squeezing the family for half the jackpot.
Hot Shot by Gary Ruffin
(The Overlook Press, $24.95)
Longtime Atlantan Gary Ruffin, a guitarist and songwriter for the 1970s rock band Smoke Rise, riffs on comic mystery in this debut novel set in a small town in Florida. Ruffin’s music career ended after a 2001 operation to remove a brain tumor left him disabled. Now a published novelist, he says he is “happy to be working, and completely inspired.”
Obesity: The Biography by Sander L. Gilman
(Oxford University Press, $24.95)
In the eighteenth century, obesity was a problem of the affluent, but nowadays it is the poorer classes—without benefit of personal trainers and Whole Foods—who are more likely to be overweight. Sander L. Gilman, a professor at Emory University, looks at the long history of obesity and society’s ever-changing attitude toward the body.
Photograph by Soo Keith