Nashville Burning is set in three Aprils, those of 1967, ’68, and ’69, in Music City. In the first, after an event at Vanderbilt University featuring Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Allen Ginsburg, and Strom Thurmond, riots broke out in North Nashville, and that part of town burst into flame—as did self-satisfied notions about civil order and structure in Nashville and the South. The next April, after the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, Nashville riots took place again, and fire claimed its function.
Nashville Burning presents characters caught up in those events and that time—events ranging from the thoughtful and sincerely well meaning to the truly felonious and certifiably insane. The novel is humorous, yet serious. Its fire is literal and emotional, and it is not to be stoked.