An author I wish I'd met

Last Friday, I stopped by the branch library near our house to drop off some books. I browsed the stacks and was delighted to find "The Long Home," William Gay's first novel and the only one of his titles I hadn't read.

In a chilling coincidence, I went home, logged onto the Internet and immediately found the first word of Gay's death. He was 68 years old, and apparently died of heart failure the night before.

I'd only recently discovered Gay, who's often compared to William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. Gay's name kept cropping up in interviews with other authors I admire, but I hadn't gotten around to his books until a few weeks ago. I gobbled them right up. Not only are they beautifully written, but they're set in a South not that different from the place where I grew up. They spoke to me. I'm sorry he won't be around to write more of them.

You can find many tributes to Gay on the Internet. The USA Today obit is here.

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