Graceland, At Last


Graceland, At Last

Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South

“Renkl at her most tender and most fierce.”—NPR
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Winner of the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
Winner of the 2022 Southern Book Prize
Reed Award Finalist 

An Indie Next Selection for September 2021
A Book Marks Best Reviewed Essay Collection of 2021
A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2021
A Country Living Best Book of Fall 2021
A Book Marks Best Reviewed Book of September 2021
A Garden & Gun Reading Recommendation for Fall 2021

For the past four years, Margaret Renkl’s columns have offered readers of the New York Times a weekly dose of natural beauty, human decency, and persistent hope from her home in Nashville. Now more than sixty of those pieces have been brought together in this sparkling new collection.

“People have often asked me how it feels to be the ‘voice of the South,’” writes Renkl in her introduction. “But I’m not the voice of the South, and no one else is, either.” There are many Souths—red and blue, rural and urban, mountain and coast, Black and white and brown—and no one writer could possibly represent all of them. In Graceland, At Last, Renkl writes instead from her own experience about the complexities of her homeland, demonstrating along the way how much more there is to this tangled region than many people understand.

In a patchwork quilt of personal and reported essays, Renkl also highlights some other voices of the South, people who are fighting for a better future for the region. A group of teenagers who organized a youth march for Black Lives Matter. An urban shepherd whose sheep remove invasive vegetation. Church parishioners sheltering the homeless. Throughout, readers will find the generosity of spirit and deep attention to the world, human and nonhuman, that keep readers returning to her columns each Monday morning.

From a writer who “makes one of all the world’s beings” (NPR), Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South is a book full of gifts for Southerners and non-Southerners alike.

American South, Nashville, Tennessee, New York Times, politics, essays, newspaper, red states, Nature, natural world, country music, climate change, social justice, Christianity, faith, religion
Publish Date: 
8.5 × 5.5 × 1 in
14 oz

Margaret Renkl is the author of Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South and Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, where her essays appear weekly. Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Proximity, and River Teeth, among others. The founding editor of Chapter 16, a daily literary publication of Humanities Tennessee, and a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina, she lives in Nashville.

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