Southern Literature

Doors

By William Hoffman

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Stories on class and conformity in the South. In Roll Call, a Southern gentleman works hard to maintain gentlemanly appearances, Place is on a poor woman's disillusion with her rich boyfriend, while the title story is on a snobbish widow and her house repairman.

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A Confederacy of Dunces

By John Kennedy Toole

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"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." -- Jonathan Swift

Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans--selfish, domineering, deluded, tragic and larger than life--is a noble crusader against a world of dunces. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. In magnificent revolt against the twentieth century, Ignatius propels his monstrous bulk among the flesh posts of the fallen city, documenting life on his Big Chief tablets as he goes, until his maroon-haired mother decrees that Ignatius must work.

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The Hand-carved Creche and Other Christmas Memories

By James Kilgo

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The author tells inspiring stories rich in tradition from his childhood days in Darlington, South Carolina.

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The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer hailing from Mississippi’s Delta region, authored The Robber Bridegroom, a steamy and chaotic story set during her home state’s antebellum years. Although loosely based on a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, this Robber Bridegroom is no murderous Bluebeard. Jamie Lockhart is, however, a handsome scoundrel with no more compunction against relieving pretty ladies of their virtue than their jewels. He meets his match in beautiful Rosamond Musgrove, who goes on everyday errands wearing her one silk gown while singing love ballads.

The Robber Bridegroom is the kind of yarn that gifted story-spinners can make out of loose threads of myth and folk tale wound together with a peculiar variety of language-rich Southern humor. She somehow binds together a jealous and mildly-murderous stepmother, a band of untrustworthy robbers (imagine that!), true love—with flaws, and raucous Mike Fink, legendary bully and “King of the Keel-boaters.”  The story is larger than life—a fantasy, really—and made it onto the Broadway stage as a musical in the 1970s. It’s still showing on the playbills of colleges and dinner theaters around the country.

A Painted House by John Grisham

Rural 1950s Arkansas is the setting for John Grisham’s Southern thriller, A Painted House. It’s the beginning of a summer full of sweltering days, acres of cotton to pick, dangerous desire, and deadly secrets to keep. 

This season--at its start the same as every other--finds the Chandler family on the road in their dusty pick-up looking for migrant workers to hire. Young Lucas is certain from what he has observed in his short life that once the season’s work is done, his family will go back to its quiet ways, sitting through another winter, readying for another spring planting with Grandpa, “Pappy” Chandler, heading the household.
 
Lucas’ family has worked the land for generations, and this summer’s batches of migrant help—Mexicans and hill people--will work alongside them to bring in the crop before the weather destroys their chance to make a little profit on the farm or at least get further out of debt. Lucas expects the workers to come stay for a few months, do their assigned work, and then go their way—never leaving a lasting impression on his family and their way of life.

Tidewater Blood 

William Hoffman

"Set in Virginia in the 1980s, Tidewater Blood opens at the annual LeBlanc family celebration. Rich, pretentious, and proud, the LeBlancs operate a prosperous plantation and celebrate their heritage each year in grand old Southern fashion on the mansion's portico. But this year, the front of the mansion explodes and everyone on the portico is instantly killed. As the dust settles, all fingers point to embittered brother and ex-con Charles LeBlanc, who lives as a hermit outside town.

9780060007584
Adult