That's What I Like (About the South), and Other New Southern Stories for the Nineties: And Other New Southern Stories for the Nineties

George P. Garrett, Editor, Paul Ruffin, Editor
George P. Garrett, Editor, Paul Ruffin, Editor University of South Carolina Press $34.95 (409p) ISBN 978-0-87249-863-1
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 409 pages - 978-0-87249-864-8
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A number of themes unify the otherwise varied works in this collection. R.H.W. Dillard playfully intercuts a list of these themes in the collection's title story; among them are ``deep involvement in place . . . family bonds . . . celebration of eccentricity . . . an inability to leave the past behind.'' Fred Chappell's funny, fantastic tale about a couple's flesh-and-blood (and tobacco-spit) encounters with their Civil War ancestors points out the dangers of living too intimately with history. Lolis Eric Elie examines another legacy of the South in a story about a jazz musician's attempt to pass on his musical heritage to a group of boys more interested in R&B and football. Some stories, such as Madison Smartt Bell's, about a woman fishing for hammerhead sharks, are more concerned with how the physical lay of the land contours the emotional terrain. Kelly Cherry sets her story in Wisconsin, but its family-oriented roots (``While I was in the mental hospital,'' it begins provocatively, ``my brother ran off with a Hungarian countess.'') are in the South. Garrett ( The Sorrows of Fat City ) and Ruffin, an editor of the Texas Review , offer a well-balanced arrangement of stories juxtaposed to flow and surprise, a sparkling collection that both illuminates and transcends its geography. (Apr.)
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