Books by Michael Knight

Released: April 2, 2019

"A quick-paced, sharp, cleverly designed book by a talented writer."
From veteran Knight (Eveningland, 2017, etc.), a deft, charming Southern coming-of-age novel—one that pays both attention and tribute to the legacy of the million-pound behemoth in that genre, To Kill a Mockingbird. Read full book review >
EVENINGLAND by Michael Knight
Released: March 7, 2017

"From a distinguished Southern writer, a very fine collection capped by a masterful novella."
A quiet, beautifully modulated group of six short stories and a novella set in or near Mobile, Alabama. Read full book review >
THE HOLIDAY SEASON by Michael Knight
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"Family life is dicey. Tolstoy turned that truism into opera; Knight makes it Muzak."
In two novellas that somehow manage to be both precious and dull, Knight (Goodnight, Nobody, 2003, etc.) offers scenes of mildly dysfunctional domesticity. Read full book review >
GOODNIGHT, NOBODY by Michael Knight
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"With an ability to tweeze meaning from the effluvia of the everyday, Knight spins magic out of nothing much. Tremendous."
Mellow scenes from a multitude of lives in repose. Read full book review >
DOGFIGHT by Michael Knight
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

A strong first collection (half of the two-book debut that includes Knight's novel Divining Rod, to be reviewed in our next issue) offers ten unflinchingly realistic and inventive studies of the compulsive bonding of incompatible people and, most interestingly, the mysterious symbiosis between humans and animals. Even the more conventional stories'such as a child's-eye view of adult infidelity and instability ("Amelia Earhart's Coat") and the complex indirect characterization of a married teacher not quite lured into his neighbors' orbit of incessant partying and casual sex ("Sundays")—resonate with this volume's distinctive emphasis on hesitant personal voyages into unfamiliar emotional territories. The beneficiaries and victims of these adventures include a widowed father and his teenaged son whose separate obsessions with a beautiful (and frequently naked) next-door neighbor subtly alter their mutual dependency (in "Now You See Her"), and another teenager working on a welding crew alongside co-workers whose crotchets and obsessions he only dimly understands ("Gerald's Monkey": a truly enigmatic tale, powered by some very disturbing sexual undercurrents). "A Bad Man, So Pretty" vividly delineates the uncomfortable intimacy between its young narrator ("the good kid" in his family) and his trouble-making older brother. It's reminiscent of several of Peter Taylor's stories about introverts who are disturbed and fascinated by the misbehavior of their more mercurial and dangerous counterparts. And Knight's most intriguing pieces boldly dramatize the changes wrought by creatures that seemingly function as guides, or instructors leading people onto new levels of experience or understanding: a young man's sense of his own vulnerability is stimulated by the dog he "inherits" after his landlady dies in a fire, perhaps deliberately set ("Tenant"); the ordeal of a skilled mosaic craftsman unable to hold together his piecemeal relationship with a vivacious independent woman ("Sleeping with My Dog"); and the superb title story's revelation of a divorced loner's closeness to his ex-wife and susceptibility to even tenuous and inconclusive emotional connection. Vivid and thought-provoking fiction from an impressive new talent. Read full book review >
DIVINING ROD by Michael Knight
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

A moody and often moving story of adultery and other forms of compromised love, by the author of the story collection Dogfight (p. 1142). The opening action—63-year-old Sam Holladay's apparently inexplicable murder of his young neighbor Simon Bell—is prelude to a deftly woven tapestry of extended flashbacks describing the lives of both men, as well as that of Sam's much younger wife Delia, fleshed out by detailed glimpses of other citizens of their sleepy hometown of Sherwood, Alabama. Delia is an impulsive beauty whose genuine love for the quiet Sam (a contemplative teacher of history) can—t keep her from tumbling into a gratifying affair with young attorney Simon, a loner confused and fascinated by memories of his late mother, who was herself a dazzling beauty, and of an unfaithful wife. Simon is an impetuous and grateful lover, whose fixation on Delia is expressed in charming little shaggy-dog—like verbal twists and grace notes (her perfume afflicts him with —a distinct, dreamy sensation of lingering movement, as if my blood had changed directions on me"). Their furtive meetings, though highly charged sexually, seem almost innocent, so skillfully does Knight draw us into seeing things through their eyes. Nor do we withhold sympathy from the long-suffering Sam, a thoroughly decent man who had, before Delia, essentially resigned himself to never being loved. And Knight "opens up" the novel persuasively, training his focus at carefully chosen intervals on Simon's middle-aged neighbor Bob Robinson, Bob's young daughter Maddie (a Delia in the making), and especially on "crazy" Betty Fowler, a widow who prowls the local golf course with a makeshift divining rod seeking the gold she's sure her late husband buried there—and, as we later learn, much more than that. An impressive and touching anatomy of the varieties, pleasures, and consequences of giving all for love—the work of a fine new writer who already looks like one of the really good ones. Read full book review >