The Inn of a Thousand Days: A Memoir of a Country B&B
by Alan Tongret
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This memoir is Alan Tongret's off-beat and bittersweet tale of leaving a New york acting career to help his parents wrest a hulking hotel from the graveyard and transform it into the cozy Lamplighter Inn at the rough-hewn paradise of Augusta, Kentucky. Tongret jumped into the task with brio, thinking he'd have the inn open in ten months and would then luxuriate in the country lifestyle while sipping mint juleps in the lobby with his guests between writing plays and novels.
But he and his parents were sucked into a four-year quagmire as they wrestled with endless seams of rotted wood, shiftless helpers and mushrooming debt, Alice-in-Wonderland building codes and marital stress. When they were about to sink below the horizon for good Tongret risked the last of his family's resources to create a theatre piece that saved the hotel and what remained of their sanity.
It's an altogether improbable yet totally true miracle of energy, vision, and iron-clad tenacity. The snugly paced, novelistic plot and poetic imagery form a cautionary tale of so many American towns that are embattled by decay and the WalMart blitzkrieg.
About the Author:
Alan Tongret's plays have been produced in New York, at Alaska's Last Frontier Theatre Festival, and around Arizona, and include Brontė, The World Aflame, Memories of the Lost Acres, Poor Richard's Revolt, Shakespeare and the Gospels: Primetime!, Treasure at the Devil's Backbone, Aurora, Arbor Day, and others. Tongret earned an MFA in Theatre from Ohio University and acted with the New York Shakespeare Festival, Trinity Square Repertory Theatre, Fords Theatre, Allenberry Playhouse, plus summer stock, dinner theatre, TV, film, and commercials. He was a theatre manager at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for several years before joining his parents to renovate the Lamplighter Inn in Augusta, Kentucky.
Tongret returned to school for an MFA in Creative Writing at Arizona State University, and over the last dozen years has headed the theatre program at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, where he's a sometime trumpeter with the jazz band and chaired the planning teams for the new Studio Theatre and Performing Arts Center. He continues to turn out plays, screenplays, novels, and nonfiction, and is an avid practitioner with watercolors, pen-and-ink, and oil pastels. He's married to actress and director JoAnn Yeoman, and lives in Phoenix with a shady yard that offers plenty of room for his dog Puck to roam about.
"I have read Alan Tongret's memoir with absolute fascination; it is surely one of the most harrowing accounts of obsession since Moby Dick. In this case the Great White Whale was a hotel... Tongret's account is more than merely a suspenseful story; it carries implied questions of character and commitment, and how they may be most wisely fulfilled."
"I've loved this book since I read the first draft! Alan Tongret offers a fascinating step-by-step history of his curious hotel. His tale of the vision and construction of the building ends up being a rich story of hope, family, money, art, and a 'nice quiet inn.' The Inn of a Thousand Days is simply terrific."
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