A long time ago, after I wrote my WSJ story about “Freebird,” I got an email from a guy named Inman Majors. We had an entertaining conversation, and it turned out Inman was a writer too — a published one, no less. Intrigued, I ordered a copy of his novel Wonderdog.
Wonderdog had one of the better opening lines I’d read in a long time: “Like everyone else in the world I am a lawyer.” I laughed and settled down to start reading, and my reading quickly turned into devouring — until I realized I was running out of book and forced myself to slow down. That’s about the highest compliment I can give a book: You’re 100-odd pages from the end and disappointed, because you’re greedy for 200 or 300 more.
Anyway, Wonderdog hooked me on Inman Majors. I went back and read his first novel, Swimming in Sky; like Wonderdog it was funny, but also a smart character study, an exploration of family and human failings commanded with a light but sure touch. I waited eagerly for his next book, The Millionaires, which was big and ambitious — not just a multigenerational study of characters and families, but a history of the New South through one clan. It was the work of a writer clearly pushing himself to do more and be more, which made me admire Inman all the more.
Inman’s latest book is Love’s Winning Plays — it’s a fast, breezy comedy about college football and romance. (He knows from college football — his family is sports royalty in Tennessee.) But you don’t need to like college football to be entertained — without making too big a thing of it, Love’s Winning Plays is also about learning to be decent even as those around you are not.
Anyway, I enjoyed Love’s Winning Plays, and then sat down (OK, over email) with Inman to chat about the book and writing. Read it, read the book and then read the others — this is a writer I’m pretty sure you’ll love just like I do.
(Personal note: This is also my debut writing for The Classical, the rather wonderful sports site run in part by my friend David Roth, whose middle name is not included because he is not that David Roth but the David Roth who’s a great writer, which ought to be more than enough. David wrote for me way back in my days as The Wall Street Journal Online’s sports guy; now I’m honored to get to write for him.)