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Old 02-11-2009, 03:55 PM
Birdmonster is offline
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Recommend some Southern fiction for a man who knows what he likes


Millions,

I've always been partial to fiction of the American South. Folks like Faulkner & Morrison, of course, are the gold standard but I've found myself prefering less, shall we say, opaque fare these days. My tastes tend towards the southerners who use brief, cutting language, grotesques, and thick helpings humor, whether lighthearted or blackhearted. You know, people like:

- Flannery O'Connor
- Michael Malone
- Harry Crews
- Carson McCullers

Any other afficionados out there? I'd love some recommendations as I've packed all my books for a big move and am at a loss for reading.

(And, although I've specifically requested southerners, I'd definitely check out any authors you think employ similar sensibilities without actually setting their stories in the American South. Thanks, as always)
  #2  
Old 02-11-2009, 04:32 PM
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Read anything by William Gay. Also check out Tom Franklin; his short story collection "Poachers" was excellent.
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:39 PM
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The Untidy Pilgrim, by Eugene Walter.

Obviously, A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole

Last edited by Ogre; 02-11-2009 at 04:42 PM.
  #4  
Old 02-11-2009, 05:01 PM
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Search on this message board for posts by Sampiro.

Although most of it isn't fiction, you'll still get a kick out of it.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:05 PM
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I'm assuming you've read All The King's Men but I'll mention it anyway.

For a non-Southern writer who might appeal to your tastes, try Jim Harrison. Probably best known for Legends of the Fall, but I prefer many of his other books.

For non-fiction, Rick Bragg is good Southern memoirist.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:06 PM
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Eudora Welty, and if you don't mind reading plays, Tennessee Williams.
  #7  
Old 02-11-2009, 05:15 PM
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How about Larry McMurtrey?

Yes, Texas is not "The South"--except for East Texas. His great Lonesome Dove is definitely Western, but most of his earlier stuff is set in urban Texas. (Of course, you ought to read Lonesome Dove anyway.)

I'll check for specific recommendations. Meanwhile--the Literature Map places him in an interesting territory.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:17 PM
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Guys---these are exactly what I'm looking for. Just wanted to chime in and thank everyone while the recommendations come in (and please do keep them coming). My library trip tomorrow will require a shopping cart. Or a mule.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:18 PM
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He tends to be a one trick pony, but I like Pat Conroy. I happen to like his writing style, even if there's always some kind of incest and sadistic father around.

Pete Dexter's Paris Trout is a pretty good read, once again if you like insane characters. Dennis Hopper did a pretty good portrayal of him in the movie.

I really love Cormac McCarthy's Southern Gothic novels. Sutree would be a good start. I didn't really care for his border trilogy. A lot of people don't care for his flowery prose (and I suspect, made up words sometimes), but I really like it.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:24 PM
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Does Southern Florida count? Carl Hiassen is one of my favorite authors.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:54 PM
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I've never gotten too into Hiassen. Or Tim Dorsey for that matter. Florida frightens me.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:28 PM
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You know William Styron's work has a real Southern vibe, even, yes, Sophie's Choice. Read it.

Last edited by well he's back; 02-11-2009 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:04 PM
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One that's newer and doesn't get much attention is George Singleton's The Half-Mammals of Dixie.
  #14  
Old 02-12-2009, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmonster View Post
I've never gotten too into Hiassen. Or Tim Dorsey for that matter. Florida frightens me.
It frightens Hiaasen, too. That's why he's so funny.
  #15  
Old 02-12-2009, 10:12 AM
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I'm a big fan of the late Larry Brown (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Brown_(author)).
  #16  
Old 02-12-2009, 10:22 AM
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How about Donna Tartt's book the Little Friend? She also wrote the Secret History (not Southern) which got a lot of critical acclaim. Little Friend isn't as good, but I really enjoyed it.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:39 AM
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Try to find some of Mary Hood's short stories. Should be right up your alley, and I can't recommend her highly enough. Here's a sample.

...and it looks like there are some used copies available on Amazon.

Last edited by Spoke; 02-12-2009 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:46 AM
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Oh, and also try Mary Hood's And Venus Is Blue.

Sample here.

Last edited by Spoke; 02-12-2009 at 10:47 AM.
  #19  
Old 02-12-2009, 10:46 AM
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and I'll add Clyde Edgerton.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:07 PM
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I'll second the recommendations for William Gay, Larry Brown, and Clyde Edgerton, and add Larry Watson. Oh! And Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff. Ohio's not really the south, but maybe it should be.

Edna O'Brien sometimes reminds me of Flannery O'Connor, so you might check her out too.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:45 PM
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AuntiePam: adore Edna O'Brien. Got turned onto her last year and read nothing but for a month. It was that way with Harry Crews too, though he started making me feel a little dirty.
  #22  
Old 02-12-2009, 02:24 PM
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Joe Lansdale is often compared to Harry Crews. Have you tried Lansdale? The Bottoms, or the short story collection High Cotton. His Hap and Leonard buddy adventure stories are good too. He also writes straight horror, and weird fantasy.
  #23  
Old 02-12-2009, 02:35 PM
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I haven't checked out Lansdale, no. I'm just gonna print out this list by the end of the day, take it to the library, put 'em in my backpack and turn my posture into that of a jumbo prawn.
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:06 PM
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You might try Walker Percy. He wrote Love in the Ruins, The Moviegoer and The Last Gentleman.

EZ
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ez2slip View Post
You might try Walker Percy. He wrote Love in the Ruins, The Moviegoer and The Last Gentleman.

EZ
Yep - definitely try WP, tho I prefer his work before LitR.

You might enjoy a couple of my favorite books by Madison Smartt Bell - Soldier's Joy and Save Me Joe Louis.

Harry Crews is my favorite author - Gypsy's Curse my favorite book.
  #26  
Old 02-12-2009, 04:07 PM
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I'm here to second William Gay. I like the collection of shorts called "I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down" - I am partial to Bone Daddy.
  #27  
Old 02-12-2009, 04:25 PM
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Peter Matthiessen is one of my favorite authors of non-fiction. (I also like Harry Crews memoir better than his fiction) This fiction by him looks of interest though:
SHADOW COUNTRY: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend, by Peter Matthiessen. (Modern Library, $16.) Between 1990 and 1999, Matthiessen wrote three Faulkneresque novels about Edgar J. Watson, a Florida cane farmer, said to be a serial killer, who was murdered by his neighbors. Now Matthiessen has revised and rewritten, combining the three novels into one, 400 pages shorter than the originals. In the Book Review, Tom LeClair said that the new book “offers a quicker and easier passage through the swamp, but fewer shades and shadows”; the National Book Award judges disagreed, giving “Shadow Country” the 2008 fiction prize. - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/bo...aperRow-t.html

Also - has anyone ever read Wendell Berry's fiction, set in Kentucky? I like his poems; haven't tried the novels.
  #28  
Old 02-12-2009, 05:12 PM
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Shelby Foote's Love in a Dry Season is a classic.
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