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A Very Southern Christmas: Holiday Stories from the South's Best Writers Hardcover – November 5, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Down below the Mason-Dixon line, it's hardly the land of sleigh bells, snow shovels, and a winter wonderland. What could possibly go on in the South at Christmastime?

A Very Southern Christmas burrows beneath all the fluff and window-dressing and goes straight to the heart of our most cherished holiday. Discover writing by some of the South's best contemporary fiction writers, from Pulitzer Prize-winners Robert Olen Butler and Richard Ford to the work of long-established literary lights Barry Hannah, Lee Smith, and Donna Tartt to recently emerging talents such as Julia Ridley Smith. In a collection of ten heartfelt stories, writers gather all the elements of the Christmas season--past and present, joy and sadness, disappointment and surprise, confession and concealment, humor and pathos--to create unforgettable images of the holiday. Accompanied by Wyatt Waters's vibrant watercolors commissioned specifically for this collection, this beautiful anthology promises to be a treasured keepsake.

From the Back Cover

Though snowflakes and sleigh bells may be in short supply below the Mason-Dixon line, there's no shortage of great storytellers. Spend Christmas with some of the South's best as they navigate through the joys—and the heartbreaks—of the Yuletide season.

These ten outstanding stories perfectly capture the spirit of the day: the wondrous expectation, the wistful remembrances, and even the less-than-magical experiences we've all endured.

No matter where the holidays may find you, these tales of family, friends, and celebrations will take you home.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1 edition (November 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565123832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565123830
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,554,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "ruthprc" on January 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love southern literature and try to keep up with the new volumes that come out; however, I felt completely let down by this collection of stories. Realizing that Christmas is not always the uplifting holiday that we hope it will be, these stories still left me feeling more depressed than thoughtful. I originally bought several copies to give as gifts, but after reading the entire book, I felt that I could not give someone else something that made me feel worse than I did before I picked it up. Reality may be very similar to these stories in some people's lives; however, at Christmas time, I would rather reach for what is the best and most honorable about humanity and leave the stark loneliness and despair for another time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reta Washam on January 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a recently misplaced Southerner here in the great Northwest, a kind friend gave me a copy of this delightful book of short stories for Christmas. To begin with, it is just beautiful, a gift-size book with a lovely watercolor adorning the cover. Perfect, I thought, to curl up in front of the fire and enjoy with a cup of cocoa. I would have done better to have poured a stiff Jack and Coke!
For these stories are not for the faint at heart. Small truths and major revelations abound and the stories are real. Maybe a little too real for the gentlest of readers. There seems to be a kernel of truth in each that makes us face something in ourselves. And isn't this the very best kind of fiction? The kind that engages the reader's intellect and emotion.
In the first story, the late Tim McLaurin reminds us of what is really important through the thoughts of a strong, simple, good man: "Through the window were warm sleeping children, a wife he loved, wholesome food, and a tree surrounded with gifts."
But in the next, by Tim Gautreaux, a priest tells ex-oil field trash, "There's only one thing worse than what [you] did...not doing it."
In a sweetheart of a story by Robert Olen Butler, called "Snow," we learn that "Time isn't as Vietnam."
From Mary Ward Brown's stunning "New Dresses," to Donna Tartt's dark "Pageant," we are carried along on a Christmas journey through a South both familiar and alien, welcoming and harsh.
I found these stories to be gems, each one glowing with its own color, like lights on a Christmas tree. And the tree is appropriately topped with Lee Smith's angel at the end.
Christmas, the charmed day, has passed but another will come -- we all hope. I advise gathering up as many of these little books as you can find and stashing them away for next year's gifts -- if you can wait that long to give them away. That's my plan...and I'm sticking to it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At last someone has given us an accurate portrayal of the Christmas holiday . . . Southern or otherwise. These stories are NOT the typical mistletoe and happy endings. But then, neither is reality. There's a difference between fiction and literature. Literature is a fictional portrayal of TRUTH and that's precisely what we find in these stories. For so many of us, Christmas is a season of stressful gatherings, financial hardships, and painful memories of lost loves. This book tells us that we're not alone. Thank you Charline McCord and Judy Tucker for making it available.
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