348 S. Fifth Street Highlands NC 28741 US

Start date: Thursday, June 27 2024.


 On Thursday, June 27, 2024, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Resource person: Audra Bullard - office@clehighlands.com


Join us in one of Highlands’ many beautiful homes to enjoy a catered dinner while we examine a book of the last year (2023) that achieved literary acclaim. Since the Book of the Year is too new to be enshrined as a classic, we will have plenty of room to debate its merits and shortcomings. This year we will explore the latest novel by our region’s most famous writer: The Caretaker by Ron Rash. His book opens with a vividly described, devastating moment from the Korean War that propels a tortured series of events in and around Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in 1951. Blackburn Gant, a disfigured and reclusive cemetery caretaker, becomes drawn into his veteran friend’s traumatic life; Gant must learn to navigate love, hatred, and devastating betrayal. John Grisham praised The Caretaker for its “wicked plot.” The backstory of this novel is equally interesting. We will discuss why it was Rash’s most difficult novel (after four years of struggle, he almost gave it up) and how his twenty-second book is by far his most personal. Please plan on reading The Caretaker (Doubleday 2023) before attending so that you may engage in the discussion; we will read the hardcover edition.

Location: Private Residence. Address will be emailed to the registered attendees closer to the program date.

Presenter: Dr. Brian Railsback is a Professor of English at Western Carolina University, where he served as founding Dean of The Honors College and Chair of the Faculty. He teaches creative writing and U.S. literature. He has published a novel, short stories, a scholarly book, and numerous essays. He has lectured or taught courses in Cuba, Georgia, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, and Portugal. In 2022, he was selected as a Fiction Participant at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and in 2023 was named the Steve Kemp Writer in Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Notes: Cancellation Policy Please let us know immediately if you are unable to attend a class. There is no refund for cancellations within two (2) weeks prior to a scheduled class. Programs that include food, beverage or art materials must be canceled within three (3) weeks prior to receive a refund. CLE reserves the right to cancel a program if the minimum enrollment has not been met or for circumstances beyond our control, and participants will be notified, a complete refund will be issued. All classes are held in the CLE Lecture Hall at the Peggy Crosby Center unless otherwise noted. In the event information has changed from the published brochure, it will be posted on our website and in our e-blasts. Addresses for “private home” venues will be provided to registrants within 2 days of the program date.

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