Born to a runaway teenaged mother in Nashville, Charlie Boykin grows up on the less privileged side of the city. Then, in his freshman year of high school, a scholarship transports him to the halls of to the halls of Yeatman, a boarding school for children of the South’s ruling class. Befriended by the charismatic and ambitious Arch Creigh and the affluent and alluring Haltom twins, Charlie is instantly seduced by life among the wealthy, and by the privilege afforded to him by his connections to Nashville royalty. But he soon discovers that wealth comes with a cost, and that morality has little to do with his new life in Belle Meade. As the years pass, and as Arch rises from charmed, idyllic youth to the United States Senate, Charlie is increasingly pulled into covering for Arch’s missteps and deceits. At what point will the gloss of prestige wear off enough for Charlie to take a stand—and will he? The Fortunate Ones illustrates the ways in which love, power, and wealth can be at once redeeming and destructive, thrilling and toxic, glorious and tragic.
A distant cousin of renowned American novelist Booth Tarkington, Ed Tarkington was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour. “All of my life, I’ve been fascinated by the contradiction between the espoused values of Southern WASP society—humility, piety, honour—and the ruthlessness upon which the pedestals of the gentry are built,” says Tarkington, who has now lived in Nashville for nearly fifteen years, and whose articles, essays, and stories have appeared in Chapter16.org, Nashville Scene, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Knoxville News-Sentinel, and Literary Hub, among others. “Much has been made of the moral rot underlying the pretense of Southern Aristocratic manners. Why do we idolize people who seem to believe themselves superior to us, willing and able to accumulate vast fortunes? Why do so many of us actively work (and vote) against our own self-interest? I wanted to write a story about a poor boy who, by chance, finds himself befriended and influenced by a gifted, magnetic son of privilege, the type of outwardly ideal man—attractive, alluring, intelligent, ambitious—who seems destined almost from birth to assume the reins of power. I wanted to show through the poor boy’s eyes how proximity to wealth, beauty, and privilege could lead anyone to ignore, or accept, a great deal of ugliness.”
Ed Tarkington’sdebut novel Only Love Can Break Your Heart was an ABA Indies Introduce selection, an Indie Next pick, a Book of the Month Club Main Selection, and a Southern Independent Booksellers Association bestseller. A regular contributor to Chapter16.org, his articles, essays, and stories have appeared in a variety of publications including the Nashville Scene, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Knoxville News-Sentinel, and Lit Hub. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
This virtual event is free and open to the public. The Fortunate Ones is available for purchase online at A Cappella Books.
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