Aftermath Lounge by Margaret McMullan Book Tour

Hurricane Katrina is still fresh in our memories and our hearts--even 10 years later.  The suffering and loss during that storm were just heartbreaking.  I recently had the opportunity to read and review Aftermath Lounge by Margaret McMullan.  What did I think of her collection of stories about the communities and lives impacted by Hurricane Katrina?

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a book tour participant.  All opinions are my own.
Quick Summary of Aftermath Lounge by Maragaret McMullan.  On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed 95% of the small coastal town of Pass Christian, Mississippi. With a 28-foot storm surge, the highest recorded in U.S. history, 55-foot waves, and winds reaching 120 mph, the town was wiped off the map — temporarily.

Award-winning author Margaret McMullan saw the destruction firsthand. Her family's historic Gulf Coast home — her father’s beloved southern jewel — was one of the houses in Pass Christian devastated by Katrina. Despite the chaos immediately following the storm, McMullan's family was among the first to rebuild and donated to the Red Cross, the Pass Christian fire station, and the Pass Christian library.

During this time, McMullan witnessed small acts of heroism that inspired her to write about the community and its people, and how tragedy shapes our character. In 2010, she was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship to complete the project.

Born in part out of her family's deep connection to the community, Aftermath Lounge: A Novel in Stories (April 2015, Calypso Editions) releases at the 10-year anniversary of Katrina and comprises fictional vignettes about the people of Pass Christian in the storm's wake. The stories are connected by a setting near to the author's heart —the McMullans' home, which was originally constructed in 1845 and restored by her father numerous times over the years.

Aftermath Lounge is a compelling tribute to the Gulf Coast and resurrects the place and its people alongside their heartaches and triumphs. It is a riveting mosaic that feeds our desire to understand what it means to be alive in this day and age.

Aftermath Lounge offers Real World Reflections via Fictional Characters.  McMullan does a wonderful job creating very real stories from the fictional characters featured in her Aftermath Lounge stories.  McMullan writes such descriptive, human stories that she is able to surround readers in them.  While the stories are short; they weave together a picture of a community.  The individual stories create a picture of the people who remain strong after their lives were shattered.

Aftermath Lounge isn't a collection of sadness.  While the pain of Katrina's aftermath presents itself in each story--the strength and perseverance of the characters, families, and friends remind readers of the strength required to rebuild and move forward after the storm.  McMullan focuses on the strength and struggles rather than the despair.

Would I recommend Aftermath Lounge by Maragaret McMullan?   I was pretty far removed from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.  I wasn't sure if the stories would impact me as strongly as they would had I been a storm survivor.  I was impacted immediately.  The stories are well constructed and flow together seamlessly to create an overall story of hope, survival and strength. While the stories are fictionalized; the pain and struggles presented seem all too real.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

Buy Aftermath Lounge on Amazon

About the Author 
 Margaret McMullan is the author of six award-winning novels including In My Mother's House (St. Martin's Press), Sources of Light (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Cashay (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), When I Crossed No-Bob (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and How I Found the Strong (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) .

Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Ploughshares, Souther n Accents, TriQuar terly, Michigan Quar terly Review, The Sun , a n d m a n y o t h e r publications.

She received an NEA Fellowship in literature for Aftermath Lounge and a Fulbright award to teach at the University of Pécs in Pécs, Hungary, for her upcoming non-fiction work, Where the Angels Live.  Her anthology of essays by 25 well-known female authors writing about their fathers, Every Father's Daughter (McPherson & Company), is also available in Spring 2015.

She currently holds the Melvin Peterson Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Evansville in Indiana

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