Last week Trisha posted about literary weaknesses—the elements of a book that will immediately make you interested.
That got me thinking about my own “alarms.” When I started reading Rick Bass‘s latest novel, I knew I had my answer:
- Country music (which I love)
- an Arkansas connection (where I’m from) and a Nashville connection (where I live now)
Rick Bass’s Nashville Chrome is about real-life country music trio The Browns, from south-central Arkansas. They were once the “biggest thing on the American country music scene”—friends with Elvis Presley and admired by the Beatles—but Bass focuses on what happened after their fame went away.
Bass, who is best known for his writing on nature, contributed a behind-the-book essay to the September issue of BookPage on why he chose to write about the Browns. Here’s an excerpt:
As cultural spokespersons for the 1950s, the Browns hold intriguing clues to how we once were as a country: a product of our landscape and our fears and hungers, and of complicated circumstances that could no more hold steady than could a river stop in mid-flow. For a little while, the Browns changed the world—but just because they changed it did not mean they controlled it, or that the world was obliged to stop for them. Of the two sisters, one realized this, and retreated to anonymity with grace, while the other—Maxine, the oldest—burns, and waits still for that river to return. It’s a fascinating story, and I’m grateful to the Browns for living it.
Interested in reading more? Enter to win a copy of Nashville Chrome by leaving a comment with the title of your favorite novel based on a true story.
Also in BookPage: Read an interview with Bass about short story collection The Hermit’s Story.
Just for fun: Watch the Browns perform “Three Bells” on the Grand Ole Opry in 1965.