Low Country: A Memoir

J. Nicole Jones. Catapult, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-1-948-22686-8
Jones debuts with an intoxicating if puzzling story of her dysfunctional South Carolina family, who ran a mini-empire of hotels and seafood restaurants in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “The South does not own tragedy, but it sure seems to have taken a liking to the region,” she writes. To illustrate, Jones strings together half-true tales of her unconventional upbringing, bankrolled “by tourists who anointed themselves with suntan oil.” She recalls how her father “left us to move to Nashville more than a few times,” in search of country-music stardom, but his and her mother’s dreams were quashed by her “Granddaddy,” a violent, tight-fisted patriarch whose employees were “as afraid of him as we were.” A notorious bootlegger, he opened a number of motels, pancake houses, and bars, where her dad and uncles worked as bartenders and waiters, and tended to arcade games. Her nana endured a lifetime of abuse at the hands of Granddaddy, until a fall left him with his “scalp cut wide open.” From here, Jones gambles on a speculative climax to her family’s story that fails to deliver. While her sentences are finely wrought, they can’t mask a weak narrative spine. This tale of a tourist-trap childhood would make a great beach read, if it weren’t for the unfocused delivery. Agent: Stephanie Delman, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 04/08/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-64622-123-3
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