And Other Essays
by William Caverlee
After several years of writing short stories, William Caverlee turned to nonfiction when he found himself jotting down notes one spring during a reading of The Sound and the Fury. “I wrote the notes as a kind of aid to reading, a way of working through such a difficult book,” says Caverlee, a carpenter and cabinetmaker by trade. “In a way, they were notes of exasperation, a reader’s frustration: ‘Just why is the author making things so incredibly confusing?’” Eventually, Caverlee turned the notes and questions into an essay and it was accepted by The Oxford American magazine for publication in their Winter 2006 edition. “I was not an academic critic or scholar,” says Caverlee, “and I approached a number of subsequent Oxford American essays as a general reader, asking myself questions, trying to pry into a few corners of certain stories that moved me or confounded me.”
Now, not even four years later, Caverlee—a North Louisiana native—has had 22 magazine articles and 6 short stories published, as well as his first book, Amid the Swirling Ghosts—a collection of literary essays and feature articles that covers subjects from William Faulkner to Flannery O’Connor to Pistol Pete Maravich to Bonnie & Clyde and more.
“Caverlee is a writer of vast enthusiasms and range,” says Marc Smirnoff, editor of The Oxford American. “[His] writing reminds us that there is always a need for insightful, probing, and eloquent criticism—even when talking about works we think we know. I’ve learned that there’s something oddly enduring about that kind of literary criticism: it can last as long as the literature it examines, and it can even take on the name of literature itself.”
William Caverlee is a contributing writer to The Oxford American where many of his essays first appeared. His writings have also appeared in many other publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Cimarron Review, The Florida Review, and Louisiana Literature.
Softcover, 224 pages, ©2009