Writers of the American South: Their Literary Landscapes

Roger Straus, III, Photographer, Hugh Howard, Text by (Art/Photo Books) , photos by Roger Straus III. Rizzoli $35 (286p) ISBN 978-0-8478-2767-1

The place is a protagonist in my stories," says James Lee Burke. And photographer Straus and writer Howard provide a dazzling tribute to the power of place in the lives of Burke and 20 other Southern writers, ranging from Miami mystery writer Carl Hiaasen and Virginian Jan Karon to classic Southern writers like O'Connor, Welty and Wolfe. Combining literary criticism, biography and photo essay, each short chapter includes sometimes humorous anecdotes about a writer's development and a brief tour of the writer's house and environs. For example, Hiaasen writes comic thrillers about the ecological destruction of South Florida from his hurricane bunker of a house with a view of Florida Bay. Both Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings drew deeply on the isolated but rich fictional soil of scrubby and arid central Florida. Although one wishes for glimpses into the literary landscapes of writers like Reynolds Price, Harry Crews, Lee Smith and Kaye Gibbons—some of whom refused to be a part of the book—the authors still capture in rich prose and stunning photos the enigmatic power of the South over its writers. 200 color and b&w photos, 5 gatefolds. Agent, Gail Hochman . (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
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