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February 2020 Issue

  • Text
  • Paintings
  • Continued
  • Artists
  • Biltmore
  • Contemporary
  • Awareness
  • Rapid
  • Asheville
  • Arts
  • February
Works of art defining the contemporary age in WNC. Cover: ‘Downtown,’ 24x24, by Mark Bettis

BOOKS

BOOKS February book picks: ‘Home Making’ and ‘Wilmington’s Lie’ BY DENNIS RAY • DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE Lee Matalone’s Home Making is simply put — incredible. Her style is reminiscent of Pat Conroy and Flannery O’Connor yet uniquely her own. Her characters are well-drawn, and after a few pages, you feel as if they were old friends coming to visit for a couple of days. The book begins in Japan a few years after the Second World War with Cybil, who is the result of a brief affair between a young Japanese woman and a French soldier—who at a young age is transplanted to Tucson, Arizona, and raised by an American officer and his rigid wife. After a rebellious adolescence, she grows up to become a successful ob-gyn. Chloe, Cybil’s daughter, is adrift in an empty house in the hills of Virginia. Her marriage has fallen apart, and her estranged husband is dying of cancer. Room by room, Chloe makes her new house into a home, always grappling with the real and imagined boundaries that limit her as a single, childless woman in contemporary America. Beau, Chloe’s closest friend, is in love with a man he’s only met on the Internet, who lives across the country. Shepherding Chloe through her grief, he is often called back to his loud, humid, chaotic childhood in Southwest Louisiana, where he first reckoned with the intricate ties between queerness, loneliness, and place. What is most impressive with this book is how Matalone weaves the idea of having a home and what it means to belong through each of the subplots, without over-emphasizing our human need not to be alone. Home Making is more than a metaphor, more than an idea or a story. It’s a piece of literary magic. The kind that reminds you exactly how enjoyable reading can be. This book will undoubtedly be on my top-10 list for 2020. It’s just that good. Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy By the 1890s, Wilmington was North Carolina’s largest city and a shining example of a mixedrace community. It was a bustling port city with a burgeoning African American middle class and a Fusionist government of Republicans and Populists that included black alder-persons, police officers, and magistrates. There were successful black-owned businesses and an African American newspaper, The Record. But across the state--and the South — white supremacist Democrats were working to reverse the advances made by former slaves and their progeny. In 1898, in response to a speech calling for white men to rise to the defense of Southern womanhood against the supposed threat of black predators, Alexander Manly, the outspoken young Record editor, wrote that some relationships between black men and white women were consensual. His editorial ignited outrage across the South, with calls to lynch Manly. But North Carolina’s white supremacist Democrats had a different strategy. They were plotting to take back the state legislature in November “by the ballot or bullet or both,” and then use the 24 |RAPIDRIVERMAGAZINE.COM | RAPID RIVER’S ARTS & CULTURE | VOL. 23, NO. 6 — FEBRUARY 2020 Manly editorial to trigger a “race riot” to overthrow Wilmington’s multi-racial government. Led by prominent citizens including Josephus Daniels, publisher of the state’s largest newspaper, and former Confederate Colonel Alfred Moore Waddell, white supremacists, rolled out a carefully orchestrated campaign that included raucous rallies, race-baiting editorials and newspaper cartoons, and sensational, fabricated news stories. With intimidation and violence, the Democrats suppressed the black vote and stuffed ballot boxes (or threw them out), to win control of the state legislature on November 8. Two days later, more than 2,000 heavily armed Red Shirts swarmed through Wilmington, torching the Record office, terrorizing women and children, and shooting at least sixty black men dead in the streets. The rioters forced city officials to resign at gunpoint and replaced them with mob leaders. Prominent blacks — and sympathetic whites--were banished. Hundreds of terrified black families took refuge in surrounding swamps and forests. This brutal insurrection is a rare instance of a violent overthrow of an elected government in the U.S. It halted gains made by blacks and restored racism as official government policy, cementing white rule for another half-century. It was not a “race riot,” as the events of November 1898 came to be known, but rather a racially motivated rebellion launched by white supremacists. In Wilmington’s Lie, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Zucchino uses contemporary newspaper accounts, diaries, letters, and official communications to create a gripping and compelling narrative that weaves together individual stories of hate and fear and brutality. This is a dramatic and definitive account of a remarkable but forgotten chapter of American history. IF YOU GO David Zucchino will be at Malaprop’s Tuesday, 2/11, 6pm Lee Matalone will be at Malaprop’s February 26 • 55 Haywood St. Asheville

BOOKS Bestselling author, Erik Larson, visits Malaprop’s, February 28 PREVIEW BY STAFF REPORTS • DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE In The Splendid and Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, shows how Churchill taught the British people the art of being fearless. It is a story of political brinksmanship but also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country house, Chequers, and his wartime residence, Ditchley, where Churchill and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest. Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, including recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries only now available, Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the dayto-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their daughters, Sarah, Diana, and the youngest, Mary, who chafes against her parents wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful yet unhappy wife, Pamela; her illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisors who comprised Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” including his dangerously observant private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Federick Lindemann. The Splendid and Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of authentic leadership when in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, strategic brilliance, Jerry King and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together. Denise Kiernan, author, journalist, and producer will be there in conversation with Larson. Kiernan’s latest book, The Last Castle (September 2017), was an instant New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback and was also a Wall Street Journal bestseller. Her previous title, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and NPR bestseller and has been published in seven languages. She lives in North Carolina. ABOUT ERIK LARSON: Erik Larson is the author of seven books, five of which became New York Times bestsellers. His latest Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, hit #1 on the list soon after launch. His saga of the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893, The Devil in the White City, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing; it lingered on various Times bestseller lists for the better part of a decade. Hulu plans to adapt the book for a limited TV series, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as executive producers. His In the Garden of Beasts, about how America’s first ambassador to Nazi Germany and his daughter experienced the rising terror of Hitler’s rule, has been optioned by Tom Hanks for development as a feature film. Learn more at eriklarsonbooks.com IF YOU GO An evening with Erik Larson This is a ticketed event. Ticket sales are final. Tickets are transferable but not refundable. Friday, February 28, 6:30pm Event address: UNC Asheville Highsmith Student Union • Blue Ridge Room • 1 University Heights, Asheville www.malaprops.com FEBRUARY 2020 PARTIAL LISTING We host numerous Readings & Book clubs, as well as Salons! Visit www.malaprops.com READINGS & BOOK SIGNINGS Phoebe Kilby and Betty Kilby- Baldwin discuss ‘Slavery’s Descendants: Shared Legacies of Race and Reconciliation’ 2/05 - 6:pm Monette Chilson presents ‘Original Resistance: Reclaiming Lilith, Reclaiming Ourselves’ - 2/06 - 6:00pm Aleah Wicks presents ‘Fat Dog Farm: Tails of Farm Failures’ 2/10 - 6pm David Zucchino presents ‘Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy’ 02/11 - 6pm ‘CRAFT: Andre Frattino, author of Simon Says: Nazi Hunter Volume 1’ in conversation with Denise Kiernan at Little Jumbo 02/23 - 3pm TICKETED: An Evening with Erik Larson, author of ‘The Splendid and The Vile’ 02/28 - 6:30pm 55 Haywood St. (828) 254-6734 • 800-441-9829 Monday-Saturday 9AM to 9PM Sunday 9AM to 7PM VOL. 23, NO. 6 — FEBRUARY 2020 | RAPIDRIVERMAGAZINE.COM | RAPID RIVER’S ARTS & CULTURE | 25