Humorist Key (English/Savannah Coll. of Art and Design) follows up his Thurber Prize–winning memoir, The World’s Largest Man (2015), with a book about the quiet indignities of being an author.
In his second book, following his collection of hilarious essays about his father, the acerbic and brutally honest author chronicles the abject lows and soulful highs of becoming a published writer. In gritty detail, Key ably deconstructs the messy arc of the writing and publishing process. Inspired by Douglas Adams but living under the pendulous weight of artists like William Faulkner and Eudora Welty, the author was in his late 20s before he finally committed to his dream of writing “a funny book.” Tolerated by his eternally patient and lovingly sarcastic wife and three daughters, Key achieved his dream when HarperCollins bought the book for over $300,000 after a seemingly aggressive bidding war. The tales are consistently funny, as the author chronicles how he took his mother and daughters on a seemingly endless book tour while experiencing visions of being interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air and learning about the mortification of bookstore events. For all of his biting wit, Key’s love of writing is what shines through in the end: “A story is an old-fashioned treasure hunt, and what makes it so very hard for the writer is that when you start to write, you don’t necessarily know the nature of the treasure or even what the map looks like. All you need is a human with an empty place inside them they’re hoping to fill. That’s what a story is. We turn the page because we all have the hole in us, too, and we’re all trying to fill it and we’re hoping the story will give us some ideas about how to do that.”
A solid sophomore outing that will have readers looking for more from this talented author.