Join us at City Lit Books on Thursday, April 4th, 2019 at 6:30 pm for a conversation with Carson Vaughan, author of Zoo Nebraska and Larry Watson .
Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one--where the church, high school, and post office each stand abandoned, monuments to a Great Plains town that never flourished. But for nearly twenty years, they had a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy. And it all began with one man's outsize vision.
When Dick Haskin's plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Dick's devotion to primates didn't die with her. He returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, in the bed of a pickup truck and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal's economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin's dream.
A resonant true story of small-town politics and community perseverance and of decent people and questionable choices, Zoo Nebraska is a timely requiem for a rural America in the throes of extinction.
A thoughtful meditation that will appeal to animal lovers and readers interested in tales of small communities coming together. - Kirkus Reviews
Carson Vaughan is a freelance journalist from Nebraska who writes frequently about the Great Plains. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Paris Review Daily, Outside, Pacific Standard, Slate, the Atlantic, VICE, In These Times, and more. Zoo Nebraska is his first book.
Larry Watson is the author of ten books, among them the novels Montana 1948, Orchard, Let Him Go, and As Good As Gone. His fiction has been published in more than a dozen foreign editions and has received prizes and awards from Friends of American Writers, Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association, New York Public Library, Critics’ Choice, and elsewhere. Algonquin Books will publish his next novel in 2020. Watson has also published stories and poems in Gettysburg Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, New England Review, North American Review, and in other literary magazines.