Black Tie Optional is a book for the front of the store, and an excellent recommendation for book clubs. Carrie Knowles' short stories are spare, tightly woven narratives with crisp, compelling dialogue. They cut to the bone. The themes in this collection are far-reaching, touching on family ties and friendship, infidelity, loss, Alzheimer's and impending death, fear of terrorism, border patrol, and life after death. The stories are guaranteed to challenge perceptions and assumptions and to spark lively discussion. As a reviewer recently said about one of her earlier books: "If all writing were this good, I'd read more books."
Carrie Knowles was selected to be North Carolina's 2014 Piedmont Laureate for her work in short fiction. She has three novels: Lillian's Garden, Ashoan's Rug and A Garden Wall in Provence. In addition to fiction, she writes a regular Personal Perspectives column for Psychology Today, called "Shifting Forward." Glimmer Train, one of the top literary journals in the country, has given recognition to 6 of the 17 short stories in Black Tie Optional. 5 of the stories have been awarded honors by other literary journals.