Black Elvis by Geoffrey Becker
(Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction)

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In this funny, touching collection about music, identity, liars, and love, Geoffrey Becker brings us into the lives of people who have come to a turning point and lets us watch as they take, however clumsily, their next steps.

In the title story, an aging black singer who performs only Elvis songs despite his classic bluesman looks, has his regular spot at the local blues jam threatened by a newly arrived Asian American with the unlikely name Robert Johnson. In "Man Under," two friends struggling to be rock musicians in Reagan-era Brooklyn find that their front door has been removed by their landlord. An aspiring writer discovers the afterlife consists of being the stand in for a famous author on an endless book tour in "Another Coyote Story." Lonely and adrift in Florence, Italy, a young man poses as a tour guide with an art history degree in "Know Your Saints." And in "This Is Not a Bar," a simple night on the town for a middle-aged guitar student and jazz buff turns into a confrontation with his past and an exploration of what is or is not real.

In his depictions of struggling performers, artists, expectant parents, travelers, con-men, temporarily employed academics, and even the recently deceased, Becker asks the question, Which are more important: the stories we tell other people or the ones we tell ourselves?

About Geoffrey Becker

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Geoffrey Becker is the author of one previous collection, Dangerous Men, and the novel Bluestown. E. L. Doctorow selected “Black Elvis” for The Best American Short Stories 2000. Becker is an associate professor of English at Towson University.
Published October 15, 2009 by University of Georgia Press. 200 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Black Elvis

Scholars And Rogues

Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, Black Elvis collects a dozen of Becker’s stories into a collection that could best be described as a handbook for people trying to find themselves.

Nov 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Black Elvis (Flannery O'Conno...

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