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Main Street Books Offers Special Event: On the Road with Author Mesha Maren

by | Mar 7, 2019 | Arts & Entertainment, Local Businesses, News

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Main Street Books has the profound honor of hosting debut novelist Mesha Maren on March 28 as she tours to promote the release of her book, Sugar Run. Sugar Run has received rave reviews from Charles Frazier in the New York Times Book Review, Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and Kirkus Reviews.

To celebrate Maren and the profound accomplishment that is her debut novel, Main Street Books has chartered a bus to transport readers at 6 p.m. from the front door of Main Street Books to the front door of Hattie’s Tap & Tavern, a neighborhood pub with lots of character in the Plaza neighborhood of Charlotte.

At Hattie’s, guests will have an opportunity to meet and chat with Maren and fellow readers, before Maren offers a reading, prepared remarks, and a signing. At 8:30 pm, guests will have the option to ride the bus back to Davidson, or they can remain at Hattie’s for live music and additional conversation with Maren until 10:15 p.m., when the bus will once more offer transportation back to Davidson. Bus tickets and bus ticket/book bundles are available online and at Main Street Books. The event itself is free. All guests who purchase a copy of Sugar Run from Main Street Books are entitled to a free drink at Hattie’s.

The unconventional structure and off-site location of this Main Street Books event conjure the ambience of Sugar Run, whose protagonist, Jodi, sentenced to a lifetime in prison, finds herself unexpectedly turned loose after just 18 years. In some ways, the world that greets her is disarmingly foreign – pop stars have risen and fallen, the Internet has exploded into existence, and her late Aunt Effie’s West Virginia land is succumbing to weeds and trespassers. Yet, much continues on as before, particularly in her hometown, adjacent to Effie’s land, where her parents live from one government check to the next, blowing the bulk of each on cigarettes and booze, and where her brothers oscillate between the roles of friend and foe.

Jodi’s tale unfolds on two timelines: in 1989, the narration inches toward revealing the crime that landed Jodi a life sentence; in 2007, Jodi strives to recover her land from the gaping jaws of a nearby fracking operation and her life from destructive forces both within and outside her control. Determined to make amends for her crime the only way she can think of and hopeful that doing so will imbue her life with structure and purpose, Jodi retreats to her old haunts and, desperate for work and kinship, attempts to build a life for herself and the five strangers she has haphazardly selected as her new family through a cocktail of chance, circumstance, and teenage pact.

Set against the relentless pulse of a fracking operation that moves ever closer to Jodi and her neighbors, polluting their water and altering the physical and social landscapes, Sugar Run unfolds in burnished and beautiful prose, lingering and seductive, taut and gritty.

Mesha Maren’s short stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, Crazyhorse, Southern Cultures, Hobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She is the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the Beckley Federal Correctional Institution.

For further information, contact Eleanor Merrell at 704-892-6841 or at her email.

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