Madison Smartt Bell Tonight at Downtown Public Library



Madison Smartt Bell's newest novel, The Color of Night, opens with a bravura passage that replays the toppling of the World Trade Center in the words of the main character, Mae, a blackjack dealer, former cult member and survivor of childhood abuse. It's breathtaking language:

I could watch it again, as much as I wanted, since the TV kept playing it over and over like a game of Tetris no one could win. No limit to how many times I could consume, could devour those images. Again and again the rapid swelling, ripening to the bursting point, and then the fall. The buckling, crumbling, blooming outward in that great orb of ruin before it showered all its matter to the ground. Those gnatlike specks that swirled around proved to be mortals, springing out of the flames. Wrapped in the shrouds of their screaming, they sailed down.

MSB will read from and discuss The Color of Nightread a longer excerpt here — tonight at the downtown library. Below is the briefest of brief snippets from the interview with him that ran in last week's Scene, which veers off into Manson and mythology at various points, but here discusses e-books:

Well, the printed book made a cultural revolution that has lasted for centuries, but it may actually be coming to an end. I'm not sure how significant these new electronic ways of distributing and consuming books (Kindle, iPad, etc.) will be in the long run, though it is interesting to see them now catching on, after quite a long while of not catching on. I think people will always need to tell themselves stories, but how they are going to do that may really be on the cusp of a radical change. What's most troubling to me in all these changes is how many aspiring writers don't read.

For the complete interview, head over to Chapter 16. Tonight's event starts at the Nashville-centric time of 6:15 p.m.

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