Fred Chappell is a prolific poet and fiction writer praised for his mastery of colloquial dialogue. The Los Angeles Times
links him with literary nobility: "Not since James Agee
and Robert Penn Warren
has a Southern writer displayed such masterful versatility." His latest work takes him back over familiar themes, though with a difference in emphasis. Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave You
is a collection of tales about the passage of time, the stories exchanged between generations, and the remarkable characters that inhabit any good yarn about the South and small towns. Something of the unbelievable resides in these tales of believable folks. The well-crafted, lyrical quality of Chappell's writing matches the colorful speech of his characters; you don't so much read the language as hear it.
From Library Journal
Chappell (Brighten the Corner Where You Are, LJ 8/1/89) begins this novel (and although it could appear to be a short story collection, it is a novel, held together by themes, songs, and stories from the past that a young man tries to interpret into the present) with a brilliant death bed set piece, as Cora Kirkman tends her dying mother, the women sharing intertwined reminiscences punctuated by "true" dialog, the mundane courtesy ("Is that enough water?") of the sick room. As full of mountain lore, music, and myth as the Sharon McCrumb Appalachian books, Farewell is also graced with uncommonly fine prose that is lyrical yet restrained. And the stories themselves (all with "Woman" in the title?e.g. "The Feistiest Woman") are superb, ranging from comic pieces and love stories to mystery and ghost stories ("The Shining Woman"), all deeply imbued with the sounds and smells of the hills. Simply stated, Southern fiction at its best; highly recommended.?Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse,
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