Critically acclaimed, wildly talented authors sometimes disappear from the publishing world without fanfare or notice: they just, *poof*, are gone. Fans will hunt with obsession to not miss out on the next new piece of writing from their scribal love - left unrequited forever, or perhaps to drift away, forgotten altogether. Then, without warning, they are resurrected with a new work, often resulting in what is praised as their best work ever. They exhilarate old fans and garner new ones, wholly deserved.
Robert Olmstead is one such author. His previous books have been consistently received with highest praise from some of the most respected reviewing bodies in the publishing world: the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the New Yorker, the New York Times and the NY Times Book Review. Lauded by such masterful writers as Raymond Carver, Lorrie Moore, and Tobias Wolff; recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and NEA Grant, Olmstead vanished in a puff of smoke nearly 10 years ago. Since then he has been a professor at an Ohio university, but no new works reappeared.
Then, this Spring, Coal Black Horse (official site) was published. Booksellers across the nation went crazy for this small, violent, beautiful fable of war and one boy's journey into manhood.
A perfect, beautiful child of Cormac McCarthy and Tom Franklin, this haunting story brings to life the bloody, horrific details that make up both people and land of the Civil War while illuminating the journey of a boy and his horse: a powerful, starkly honest path leading him from a boy to becoming a man. The graphic, violent images are both prosaic and poetic, but the lessons are only of hope and promise. One needs to travel through hell and back in order to see the brightest lights and be redeemed.
On June 6th at 7pm in our Downer Avenue store, you can meet Robert Olmstead to hear about this magnificent and memorable read that will have you gasping for more. Maybe, like me, you will be struck with a sudden need to read everything else by this forgotten master writer.