In this Book

Black Elvis
summary
In this funny, touching collection about music, identity, liars, and love, Geoffrey Becker brings us into the lives of people who have come to a turning point and lets us watch as they take, however clumsily, their next steps.

In the title story, an aging black singer who performs only Elvis songs despite his classic bluesman looks has his regular spot at the local blues jam threatened by a newly arrived Asian American with the unlikely name Robert Johnson. In “Man Under,” two friends struggling to be rock musicians in Reagan-era Brooklyn find that their front door has been removed by their landlord. An aspiring writer discovers the afterlife consists of being the stand-in for a famous author on an endless book tour in “Another Coyote Story.” Lonely and adrift in Florence, Italy, a young man poses as a tour guide with an art history degree in “Know Your Saints.” And in “This Is Not a Bar,” a simple night on the town for a middle-aged guitar student and jazz buff turns into a confrontation with his past and an exploration of what is or is not real.

In his depictions of struggling performers, artists, expectant parents, travelers, con-men, temporarily employed academics, and even the recently deceased, Becker asks the question, Which are more important: the stories we tell other people or the ones we tell ourselves?

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. p. v
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. vii
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  1. Black Elvis
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. Know Your Saints
  2. pp. 13-27
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  1. Cowboy Honeymoon
  2. pp. 28-44
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  1. This Is Not a Bar
  2. pp. 45-57
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  1. Iowa Winter
  2. pp. 58-75
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  1. Imaginary Tucson
  2. pp. 76-87
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  1. Man Under
  2. pp. 88-102
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  1. Another Coyote Story
  2. pp. 102-112
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  1. Jimi Hendrix, Bluegrass Star
  2. pp. 113-129
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  1. Santorini
  2. pp. 130-144
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  1. The Naked Man
  2. pp. 145-157
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  1. Black Days
  2. pp. 158-173
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