Weekend Literary Blogging (A Personal Experiment)?Most of us, I suspect, harbor a great fondness for an author or two who we believe deserve a much larger fan base?a personal favorite who we promote to all our friends yet who never quite breaks through to the general audience. I?m not talking about authors like Wodehouse who are the focus of a ?cult? of hundreds of millions of readers; I?m talking about talents who consistently reach enough readers to justify the effort of turning out more books, but do seem to bump along with an unjustifiably modest readership.
Here?s your chance to introduce your favorite to a larger audience. This project isn?t necessarily restricted to living authors, but they?re preferable?after all, isn?t it better to do one?s part for someone who can still reap the material benefits?
To start, and as an illustration, I nominate T.R. Pearson.
Pearson broke into the somewhat-big time in 1985 with A Short History of a Small Place, a knock-down hilarious and deeply humane novel set in his mythical Yoknapatawpha-like town of Neely, N.C. It?s a true work of art. Since I?m in California, the pitch memo goes: Think Faulkner crossed with Welty crossed with Charles Portis.
This year Pearson came out with a 20-years-after sequel, entitled Glad News of the Natural World, which adds a mature element of pathos to the fine qualities of the earlier work. In between he?s had one or two misfires but many more successes (in literary terms); among the latter I?d recommend Blue Ridge and Polar. But he?s never written a book that isn?t worth reading. I?d stand on line at midnight to get his next work on publication day, but then, he?s not a writer for whose new books one has to fight the crowds. The crowds are missing something good.