Off the Shelf: Christopher Tilghman

May 7, 2012 — Christopher Tilghman, a professor of fiction writing in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, published his novel, "The Right-Hand Shore," about a month ago, and it has received high praise in several major reviews.

"The Right-Hand Shore" (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux) returns to the Chesapeake Bay and families Tilghman first wrote about in his 1996 novel, "Mason's Retreat." The new novel takes place on one day in 1920 when several characters recount stories from the previous generations. Tilghman called it a prequel to "Mason's Retreat," which was set in the late 1930s.

A newly revised edition of "Mason's Retreat" has been published alongside "The Right-Hand Shore."

"Tilghman unfolds his harsh lesson with precision, delicacy and startling humor," wrote author Fernanda Eberstadt in a New York Times review. "'The Right-Hand Shore' is the dark, magisterial creation of a writer with an uncanny feel for the intersections of place and character in American history."

In the 15 years in between the two novels, Tilghman published another novel, "Roads of the Heart," and two short-story collections, "The Way People Run" and "In a Father's Place," plus individual stories in journals and magazines.

Tilghman, who joined the English department in 2001, directs its highly ranked Creative Writing Program.