RED CLAY, BLUE CADILLAC: Twelve Southern Women

Michael Malone, Author . Sourcebooks Landmark $15 (352p) ISBN 978-1-57071-824-3

The first four selections in this collection of 12 stories are so sterling in their style and structure, so well crafted, captivating and entertaining, that the reader wants to slow down and savor their authentic voices and characterizations, qualities that have led Malone to major writing awards (the Edgar, the O. Henry). Of these, the best is "Marie," an account of a blonde beauty's casual seduction and robbery of a foolish high-tech sales rep, but it is closely rivaled by "Stella," which in its time-spanning tale of unrequited and unquestioning love and loyalty recalls the romantic power of stories by Richard Yates and the darker gothic elements of Katherine Anne Porter. The awkwardly rendered "Lucy" is a brief stumble, but Malone recovers in the next selection, "Flonnie," a poignant and powerful examination of contemporary Southern race relations. The next piece, "Patty," a pedestrian, overlong murder mystery, begins the collection's steady descent into the mundane and clichéd, as Malone fumbles for plot development and original character through the remaining tales, of which only "Mona" stands out. Each of the better stories provides a disquieting look at familiar themes, and each is marked by a writing style fresh with surprising twists and turns of phrase and Malone's remarkable insight into the human condition. Only when Malone becomes heavy-handed does his workmanship overwhelm and tread upon his art. Overall, the collection is more than worthwhile, including some of the best stories to come out of the South in years, but its unevenness betrays the whole. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.