There are rumblings throughout the land that Barry Hannah just isn’t up to it anymore, that “the best young fiction writer to appear in the South since Flannery O’Connor,” as Larry McMurtry’s more-than-slightly hoary (though once accurate) jacket copy has it, lacks the fire of his youth. But who would you rather see grow old? Hannah’s latest collection, High Lonesome—that “high” denotes refinement, not pitch—is filled with characters who, as always, are given internal voices that far outstrip any plausible eloquence, but which are fully consonant with the tawdry, comic longings of their possessors. In tongues by turns demotic and baroque, Hannah’s losers manifest every man’s desire to go down in a blaze of glory—even if no one else can see it. Hannah reads at 7 p.m. at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. (Glenn Dixon)