Faculty Novelist Concludes Tall Grass Trilogy
Robert Vivian has written the third and final novel in his critically acclaimed Tall Grass Trilogy. Another Burning Kingdom examines profoundly alienated people in America.
In particular, the plot focuses on Jackson, a would-be terrorist who plans a heinous act targeting the state capitol building in Nebraska. The novel also interlaces the voices of Jackson’s brother and sister-in-law, Lem and Lissa.
A public reading of Another Burning Kingdom takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10 in the Dunning Memorial Chapel at Alma College. Readers include Dana Aspinall, William Palmer, Tina Vivian and the author, who is a member of the English faculty at Alma College. Admission is free and open to the public.
In the story, Lem, who is no stranger to Jackson’s antics, drives from California to prevent his brother from carrying out this terrorist act. As a result, his life is threatened.
“Lem leaves his wife behind, and his marriage is on the rocks,” says Vivian. “Because of Jackson’s messianic vision, he reflects on his hopes and fears and what his life has meant.”
With two additional novels tucked away in his desk drawer, Vivian says he didn’t intend to write a trilogy. Though these other novels didn’t quite fit in, the Tall Grass Trilogy’s formula of three seems to work perfectly as is.
Following the positive reception of his previous works, Publishers Weekly says Vivian’s latest “finds impressive depth in a slim and spare endeavor.”
With its novella length, Another Burning Kingdom differs from the rest of the trilogy. Vivian says the novel is much more concentrated, with fewer speakers, in addition to another noticeable difference.
“More than the others, I think this novel draws on the supernatural elements of the mystical West,” he says. “I drew from the mythology behind wild horses, the weather, and again, the landscape.”
The geography of Vivian’s native Nebraska links the trilogy, showcasing his affection for the sweeping vistas and horizons.
Another theme prominent in the novels is the examination of the American underclass.
“The novels feature disenfranchised people who are living lives of desperation and resort to bizarre and questionable means to try and change that,” says Vivian.
The previous novels in Vivian’s Tall Grass Trilogy were The Mover of Bones and Lamb Bright Saviors. Vivian’s next novel, Water and Abandon, is set for publication in 2012. His essay book, The Least Cricket of Evening, will be released this fall.
Posted: Wed, March 2nd, 2011 at 7:57AM