...if the South is disintegrating, some characters in these stories show great strength in the face of that decline, and a reader who looks for characters who grow and change during the course of a story won’t be disappointed ... Author Tom Franklin has called Michael Knight a 'master of the short story.' I will add that Knight is a master of the short story title. The titles of the stories in this volume are marvelous double and triple entendres ... A thought-provoking and deeply satisfying reading experience, Eveningland evokes the Old South without sentimentalizing its loss.
The protagonists of Knight’s stories trouble themselves with country club tennis matches and attempts at elaborate dinner party preparations, like New South zombies walking at dusk beneath draping tendrils and trellises of Spanish moss ... Knight pays careful, writerly attention to the details of desperation. His characters — often entombed in middle-age despair — in their weakened, even futile attempts to shift position, if not actually escape, give a reader the sensation of watching the lateral movements of blobs of life wriggling beneath a microscope.
Michael Knight’s prose is pristine, as watertight as the skiffs, barges, and tankers that occupy Mobile Bay ... A sense of place and past is strong, but it never overshadows the compelling human narratives at the center of every story. Each piece is as impeccable and varied as Knight’s readers have come to expect ... Some stories are muted and introspective, others throttle with suspense — all earn their keep ... While Knight may not be known in the short story genre, he demonstrates an undeniable mastery of it. Eveningland is both expansive and contained, exploratory and insular. No one can deny this author’s command of sentence-level writing, and his paragraphs flow in flawless succession like warm waves from the Gulf. Some readers, however, might be challenged by Knight’s unwillingness to offer firm resolutions to his stories. Most of his endings are deeply nuanced, and a few are outright cliffhangers.