Tag: South

  • Glorious Excess: S.A. Cosby and the Future of Southern Fiction

    Glorious Excess: S.A. Cosby and the Future of Southern Fiction

    S.A. Cosby knows that he’s prone to excess. He told The Guardian as much in an interview last year: “I write long sentences. I like similes (maybe too much, according to some reviewers). I like to write esoterically. I pontificate and wax poetic in the middle of gunfights. That’s my style.” –S.A. Cosby In his […]

  • How Memory Lingers: Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed

    How Memory Lingers: Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed

    The year my grandfather was born, twenty-one people were lynched and no one heard a sound. The trees died and the soil turned over and the leaves baptized all that was left behind. (273) The fact that Clint Smith is also a poet does not make his recent book an easy read. How the Word […]

  • #5-As I Lay Dying-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    #5-As I Lay Dying-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    Part of my return to the classics this year included another run at William Faulkner. I had only ever gotten through an audio version of A Light in August, which I listened to on a drive across the South a few years ago. The Sound and the Fury seemed impossible, but I started this year’s […]

  • Love, Life, and Salvation in As I Lay Dying

    Love, Life, and Salvation in As I Lay Dying

    Perhaps someday I’ll get around to re-reading William Faulkner, which numerous guides suggest one do in order to get the full flavor of his writing. In the meantime, I’ll step back and gawk, wondering why I’m persisting in this recent quest to get to the heart of Yoknapatawpha County, Faulkner’s mythical Mississippi landscape. I mean, […]

  • Of Mice and Migration: The Luminous World of Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom

    Of Mice and Migration: The Luminous World of Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom

    This review originally appeared on The Englewood Review of Books and is republished with permission. The experiments that Gifty, a Stanford PhD candidate, conducts have the illusion of being about control. A pioneer in the field of optogenetics, the young Ghanaian-American researcher is using illuminated neural pathways to understand the brains of mice—particularly brains with […]

  • Reading The Sound and the Fury in 2020

    Reading The Sound and the Fury in 2020

    In 1929, William Faulkner had a keen sense that it was all falling in of its own weight. When he published The Sound and the Fury, now recognized as an American classic, it confused folks more than wowed them. The first section, written from the perspective of Benjy Compson, the intellectually-challenged son of a white […]

  • Saying Their Names: Jesmyn Ward’s Mississippi Memoir

    Saying Their Names: Jesmyn Ward’s Mississippi Memoir

    Jesmyn Ward’s memoir, Men We Reaped, derives its title from an arresting Harriet Tubman quote that appears in the book as an epigraph: We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the […]

  • Belated Reviews: Willie Morris’s North Toward Home

    Belated Reviews: Willie Morris’s North Toward Home

    “I think he got parvo. I think he picked it up out the dirt.” …”Maybe he just sick, Skeet.” “What if it’s in the dirt? What if the rest of them get infected?” —Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward It took some chutzpah for Willie Morris, at the age of roughly 33, to believe that his […]

  • Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy

    Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy

    My piece on visiting Appomattox Court House is up on the blog of StreetLight Magazine. Click here.

  • The Long Shadow of The Yellow House

    The Long Shadow of The Yellow House

    It’s hard to say, even 370 pages later, what the yellow house means to Sarah Broom. As a substantial structure about which to tell a story of a place, it’s not much to look at—a shotgun house in New Orleans East, ultimately ravaged by Katrina and razed to the ground. For most of the second […]