Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Author's short stories full of authentic Appalachian humor and cultural detail

  • 0
Larry Thacker

Larry Thacker’s new collection, “Labor Days, Labor Nights: More Stories,” continues the story of life in Labortown, the fictional town he introduced in “Working It Off in Labor County.”

Larry Thacker never tires of telling stories and writing books.

Thacker, 52, is a full-time writer from Johnson City, Tennessee.

He creates worlds with “the people, characters,” he said.

“Who else but writers and other creatives get to do this daily? Second, to spotlight the humor, challenges and fabulous everyday oddness of where I’m from,” he said. “Hopefully readers find a little of themselves and the world they’re in within these characters’ interesting challenges,” he said.

“Fiction’s a great way to tell about struggles in life, through a mix of real and imagined experiences,” Thacker added.

His latest book is called “Labor Days, Labor Nights, More Stories.”

“It’s a continuation of life in Labortown and Labor County but from some different perspectives, though some continue our looking in on how people like Uncle Archie and the family are holding up,” Thacker said.

This book goes back to his earlier projects.

“I’d like people to read these books and want to know what happens next in the saga of their lives,” he said. “I’m continually excited about all of these writing projects.”

Books are Thacker’s ongoing projects.

“I’ve written most of these stories and collections to be pretty timeless. Anyone can relate their own experiences to the place in time of these stories,” he said.

“Fiction is a departure from my first love of poetry, of course, but now they lend influence to each other,” he said.

“I write both poetry and fiction and some non-fic at the same time,” Thacker said.

The latest book was a long time coming.

“I was writing ‘Labor Days, Labor Nights’ alongside the first collection, ‘Working It Off in Labor County,’ so it was like a continued thought,” he said.

“I’d like to think I’ve got a unique sense of humor, the way I see the world turning every day, so that mixed with my Southeast Kentucky-Appalachian upbringing and sensibilities creates what I hope is a unique book,” he said.

“It’s not all humor, so you’ve got to pace the stories, humorous, serious, philosophical, frightening, then the occasional weird check-in with the Uncle Archie bunch,” he said.

Why the success?

“Paying better and better attention to the moving world around me in order to not miss anything that should be material,” he said. “That process of filtering the true into fiction is a fascinating process.”


Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

“Taking Down Backpage: Fighting the World’s Largest Sex Trafficker" by Maggy Krell; NYU Press (192 pages, $22.95) ——— It’s the best justice system money can buy. As a prosecutor in California, Maggy Krell saw that unfairness daily, particularly when cops would do sweeps of streetwalkers. Pimps and johns who exploited prostitutes went free. The women went to jail. Krell’s book, “Taking Down ...

In 1973, a Korean War veteran with a Ph.D. in English from Boston University published his first novel, a detective tale called "The Godwulf Manuscript." Its hero was a private detective named Spenser (no first name). Robert B. Parker’s books about him became a phenomenon — Parker wrote 40 bestselling novels about Spenser (as well as numerous books in three other series) before he died at his ...

SEATTLE — Elizabeth George does have an endgame for her bestselling Inspector Thomas Lynley mysteries — the newest of which, "Something to Hide," arrived in bookstores Jan. 11. But, to the relief of the many fans of the series, she hasn't arrived there yet. George, speaking in a telephone interview from her Seattle home, said she's always delighted to begin a new Lynley book: "There's always a ...

Evison deftly weaves stories of the present and the past, illustrating how all of our lives and futures are linked together. "Small World" by Jonathan Evison; Dutton (480 pages, $28) ——— The passengers aboard the Amtrak Coast Starlight are all bound for Seattle. Strangers on a train, they will all be affected by an accident that will derail plans and upend lives. Jonathan Evison's "Small ...

Sequoia Nagamatsu's debut novel, "How High We Go in the Dark," blends speculative and literary fiction to offer a bleak yet hopeful glimpse of humanity's potential futures. "How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia Nagamatsu; William Morrow (304 pages, $27.99) ——— Early in 2020, in an interview with the BBC, sci-fi writer William Gibson observed that "All through the 20th century we constantly ...

The Bucci sisters were 4 and 6 when they were sent to Auschwitz. "Always Remember Your Name" by Andra and Tatiana Bucci, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein; Astra House (171 pages, $25) ——— The first book I reviewed for the Star Tribune documented the life of Mildred Harnack, the only American to lead a Nazi-resistance group in Germany during World War II. Tragically, she was ...

I’ve been reading about working from home. Because I’ve been working from home. I’m writing this from home. Not coincidentally, I’m also reading about that thing none of us were supposed to feel once we embraced working from home. I’m reading about burnout, its history, its costs. To be specific, I’ve been reading books about working from home and burnout early in the morning, before dawn, ...

Ulrich Boschwitz wrote his novel about a German Jew on the run in the days after Kristallnacht. One day last March, former U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz opened his Wall Street Journal to find a review of a book that had been written by his cousin Ulrich. His cousin, who he hadn't known was a writer. His cousin, who had died in 1942. "I was startled when it appeared," Rudy said. "I had never heard ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

News Alerts