Brad Barkley, an assistant professor of English at Frostburg State University, will read from his new novel "Alison's Automotive Repair Manual," on Thursday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m., at Main Street Books in Frostburg. A reception and book signing will follow the reading.
Barkley's novel tells the story of a young widow living in a fictionalized Wiley Ford, West Va., where a newly widowed young woman tries to delay putting her life back together.
Alison Durst is the witty, 30-ish protagonist who has become a semi-permanent guest of her sister Sarah and brother-in-law Bill ever since her husband died in an accident. She's already spent two years in mourning, and in spite of Sarah and Bill's pleas that she get on with it, Alison makes yet another bid to prolong her suspended state: She's going to rebuild her brother-in-law's broken-down Corvette, and then she'll leave. Of course, she knows nothing about cars. Sparks really start to fly, however, when Max Kesler, the owner of a one-man munitions company, comes to help her with the project.
Publisher's Weekly has called the book "emotionally resonant," and said, "The icing on the cake is the author's touching portrayal of small-town life in West Virginia." Library Journal has written "Barkley is back, and he has a winner…Barkley steers this one straight into our hearts." Writer Lee Smith calls the book "beguiling and utterly original," while Jill McCorkle labels it "stunning and memorable." The novel is also a BookSense 76 pick for March and April.
A native of North Carolina, Barkley is the author of" Money, Love," which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and a BookSense 76 choice. The Washington Post and Library Journal named "Money, Love" one of the Best Books of 2000. Barkley was named one of the "Breakthrough Writers You Need to Know" by Book magazine. His short fiction has appeared in the Southern Review, the Georgia Review, the Oxford American, Glimmer Train, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, which has twice awarded him the Balch Prize for Best Fiction. His work was anthologized in "New Stories from the South: The Year's Best 2002." A story collection, "The Properties of Stainless Steel," is forthcoming. He has won four Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. Barkley teaches writing at FSU and lives with his wife Mary and their two children.
For information, call the FSU Department of English at (301) 687-4221.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. You may request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.