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July 20, 2013

Cooperstown grad's novel is love letter to village

In his novel “You Can’t Go Home Again,” Thomas Wolfe wrote of a novelist who finds that writing about his home town has so poisoned the people who live there against him that he can never go back.

Not so for Callie Wright.

The 1996 graduate of Cooperstown Central School, whose debut novel “Love All” was published July 9, can hold her head high when she returns to the village next week to read from her book — which is set in Cooperstown, circa 1994.

Wright will no doubt return to a cheerful crowd of family, friends and acquaintances when she visits the area. Never mind the fact that, when she first arrived there more than 20 years ago, she felt about as out of place as she could be.

“We moved (to Cooperstown) from Texas when I was young, and we sounded every bit the part,” Wright explained in a recent phone interview.

“The first day of school, I remember standing up in front of the class, and they would feed me words to repeat in my Texas accent,” she recalled without belying a trace of same. “All I wanted to do is fit in.”

So when a slightly older Wright heard the story of Isabel Moore, whose 1962 novel “The Sex Cure” delighted in revealing the sordid secrets of her Cooperstown neighbors, she was shocked — and fascinated.

“It wasn’t the book, so much as the story of the author daring to write this book, that fascinated me,” Wright explained. “She was immediately run out of town, and I couldn’t understand why someone would do that. Why, once you’re in, would you risk being run out? I couldn’t imagine the set of circumstances that, if I could feel like this was home, I would ever want to risk that.”

But Wright did eventually come to consider Cooperstown home, and her fascination with the idea of “The Sex Cure” stuck with her.

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