Monthly Archives: June 2015

Chris Squire, Prog-Rock demigod…

Chris Squire was not only a founding member of Yes and thus a Prog-Rock demigod – he was also one of the most gifted bassists in the history of rock…. By now most of you who pay attention to such … Continue reading

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James Street’s The Gauntlet: That Old Time Religion…

James Street’s The Gauntlet, a novel about the trials of a young Southern Baptist minister in the 1920’s, will ring true, sometimes painfully so, for anyone who ever experienced small town church life…. From the literary efforts of arch poseur … Continue reading

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Jerzy Kosinski’s Steps: The Singer Not the Song…?

Steps is a National Book Award winner, a glowingly reviewed best seller – and a completely forgettable book by an author who may or may not be one of literary fiction’s greatest charlatans… The name Jerzy Kosinski conjures varying reactions … Continue reading

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Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road: Maybe Southerners Aren’t Merely Caricatures…

Reading Caldwell’s Tobacco Road is reminiscent of watching an episode of Dukes of Hazzard and reading Flannery O’Connor at the same time…  First, an anecdote: Sometime back in my graduate school days I ran into an article in which the scholar … Continue reading

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Yukio Mishima and the Struggle to be Free…

“…I must point out that a memory which is suddenly revived carries a great power of resuscitation. The past does not only draw us back to the past. There are certain memories of the past that have strong steel springs … Continue reading

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Jean Genet’s Treasures of the Night: Once an Outlaw…

The poems in the Genet collection Treasures of the Night will shock and offend those unprepared to accept love’s alternative practitioners. Genet would like that…. The next work from the world literature section of the 2015 reading list is an … Continue reading

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Ellen Foster: Kaye Gibbons’ Dark Victory…

In Ellen Foster Kaye Gibbons offers a flawed if compelling coming-of-age tale with a narrator who is by turns a believable rural North Carolina 11 year old and – on occasion an author remembering her 14 year old self upon whom her … Continue reading

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Strange Fruit: Lillian Smith Deconstructs the South’s Peculiar Institutions…

“That’s the South’s trouble. Ignorant. Doesn’t know anything. Doesn’t even know what’s happening outside in the world! Shut itself up with its trouble and its ignorance until the two together have gnawed the sense out of it.” – Lillian Smith, … Continue reading

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Harry Crews’s A Feast of Snakes: As Dirty as Realism Gets…

When a writer combines washed up All-American football players, sexually frustrated former majorettes, a rattlesnake roundup,  a racist, rapist sheriff, and dog fighting and sets it all in the rural South, one expects pretty much what Harry Crews gives us – … Continue reading

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