New Voices Series: Ed Tarkington, Only Love Can Break Your Heart

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New Voices Series: Ed Tarkington, Only Love Can Break Your Heart
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Atlanta History Center says
A spellbinding debut, Ed Tarkington’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart draws you into a small-town Southern Gothic story of family fealty, scandal, and murder. This coming-of-age tale explores the troubled bond between two half-brothers, set against a backdrop of the hazards of love, jealousy, and madness.

It’s the late 1970s in the small town of Spencerville, Virginia, where teenagers and children can still roam free, when eight-year-old Richard “Rocky” Askew is temporarily abducted by his half-brother Paul in an ill-advised act of vengeance against their father. Shortly after, Paul – known for being a wild child – disappears. Rocky’s childhood becomes defined by the absence of his beloved brother and by his involvement with his new neighbors, Brad and Patricia Culver and their twenty-nine-year-old daughter, Patricia. “Their hands have been on every bad thing that’s ever happened to us,” the now teenage Rocky says. Seven years after Paul’s disappearance, a grisly, sinister double-murder sets the whole town on edge and forces Rocky to reckon with the past. Humming in the background is a soundtrack of the glory days of rock and roll, the freewheeling 1970s and 80s.

Ed Tarkington received a B.A. from Furman University, a M.A. from the University of Virginia, and Ph.D. from the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. A frequent contributor to, his articles, essays, and stories have appeared in Nashville Scene, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Post Road, the Pittsburgh Quarterly, the Southeast Review, and elsewhere. A native of Central Virginia, he lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

This lecture is part of Margaret Mitchell House’s New Voices Series and is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended, please call 404.814.4150 or reserve seats online at
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By: Atlanta History Center

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