COLUMBUS, Miss. -- With hurricanes and tropical storms predicted to become more frequent and stronger, Michael Farris Smith’s debut novel has an eerie suggestion of possibility about it.
Scheduled for release Sept. 10, “Rivers” (Simon & Schuster) is a post-apocalyptic story that imagines a world with the climate gone mad. “Rivers” was recently selected by Indiebound as a September Indie Pick. Reported weekly by independent booksellers across America, the IndieBestseller Lists let you know what indie readers are buying right now.
“Rivers” also has been selected for The W’s Common Reading Initiative, a program that encourages the campus community to read and come together to discuss a common book.
Smith is an associate professor of English at The W and is scheduled for a number of book signings around the state and region following the book launch in Columbus. Advanced copies can be ordered online at www.simonnovels.com/authors/michael-farris-smith.
Already receiving high praise in early reviews, “Rivers,” presents a fictional world that asks the reader to imagine the extremes of weather possibility.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating storms to attack the Gulf Coast, what if the hurricanes never stopped? What if the rain came for months on end, swallowing the land and forcing people to flee with no hope of return? And what if the government abandoned the entire coast of Mississippi and drew a new line of demarcation?
This situation is the fictional premise for a story that also includes modern-day buried treasure, untrustworthy characters and treacherous circumstances. It is a world governed by forces beyond human control.
“I knew after Katrina that I wanted to write something about its impact,” Smith said. “But I knew that I didn’t want to recreate reality.” Instead, in prose that has been called “stunning,” and a book hailed for its “perfect pacing,” he immerses readers in the life of a familiar place that has become unrecognizable.
Smith is the author of a novella, “The Hands of Strangers,” published by Main Street Rag Publishing in Charlotte, N.C. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous literary reviews and anthologies.
He holds an undergraduate degree from Mississippi State and studied at the Center for Writers at The University of Southern Mississippi. He has been on faculty at The W since 2007. For more information, see http://michaelfarrissmith.com/.