South Toward Home
"And yet there is something about writers from the South. There
is a certain flavor to Southern literature that distinguishes it from
other regional writing, a ferocity about it, which is why William
Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor and Richard Wright and Harper Lee and
so many others are not known just as American writers, but Southern
writers...What is is about the place that inspires so many? What
makes the South different?"
I'm not sure if I agree that the South is the only part of this
nation that puts a distinct stamp on its writers. Put Stephen King
and Carolyn Chute (tell me they don't have a ferocity) and peers
together and I bet you could a Maine mystique. I think people have a
tendency to romanticize the South and view its writers through myth
colored glasses. Fortunately one doesn't have to totally
agree with Margaret Eby's premise, quoted above, to thoroughly enjoy
her South Toward Home.
What Eby has to offer readers is a grand literary road trip.
She has chosen ten writers who she designates as quintessentially
regionally defined. She visits and describes the places they lived
in, frequented, and described. Her descriptions and discussion give
us new insights into favorite wordsmiths and suggestions for authors
to check out. Among the places you'll go are:
*The courthouse Harper Lee popularized in To Kill A Mockingbird,
*The family farm Flannery O'Connor was confined by illness where
peafowl strutted the grounds,
*The swamp country in which Harry Crews grew up,
and William Faulkner's liquor cabinet.
If you are a fan of Southern literature you will find this
fascinating book to be a must read.
On a personal note, the weather people in Penobscot County got us all
worked up for a 14" snow fall. We woke up to find a mere 4" on the
ground. Oh, well, it made for decent sledding.
A great big shout out goes out to all the folks like my Eugene who
lost sleep plowing.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod