Tennessee Waltz: John Bowers Looks Homeward

Chronogram Magazine reveiws Love in Tennessee

Tennessee Waltz

John Bowers Looks Homeward

by Nina Shengold and photographs by Jennifer May, November 25, 2009

American literature has its own railroad map, with tracks that meander from Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, through Willa Cather’s Nebraska to Jack London’s Alaska. Readers can add a new whistle-stop: John Bowers’s Tennessee.

It’s no accident that the railroad looms large in Love in Tennessee (Red Hen, 2009): The narrator’s father, like Bowers’ own, is a night telegrapher at a small-city depot in east Tennessee; his young son carries his dinner down the tracks in an old Christmas fruitcake tin. But Love in Tennessee, overflowing with idiosyncratic town characters whose lives and loves feel authentic as denim, is billed as a novel, not a memoir.

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