Book Chat: Opioid, Indiana


Bronwen's copy of Opioid, Indiana

Programs and Special Projects Manager Bronwen Carlisle talks about what she’s been reading lately

This past September, I picked up a copy of Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr during a book launch event with the author at Wild Geese Bookshop in Franklin. The book made quite the splash, appearing on notable bestseller lists and book review outlets, so I was excited to get a copy, especially since Carr is local to Franklin.

Opioid, Indiana follows a rather unusual week in the life of Riggle, a high school kid in small-town Indiana. At times supremely real and at others fantastic and surreal, the book explores issues of addiction, poverty, gun violence and political polarization. But, even as it explores difficult topics, the book deploys a fresh voice, characterized by an offbeat humor and sharp wit. While Riggle never discloses the location of his small-town, Opioid is loosely based on Franklin itself. As such, Carr’s book provides commentary on the complicated and occasionally overlooked dynamics of rural America, while simultaneously asserting its status as a valid literary setting.

Franklin is a small town by most metrics, but it is a literary hotbed of sorts thanks to its local writers, vibrant little bookshop, wonderful library system and strong college English department. I live only a few blocks away from Wild Geese and relish the fact that I can attend world-class author events right outside my front door.