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New Stories from the South 2009 Paperback – August 25, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hurricane Katrina hangs like tendrils of Spanish moss over this uneven anthology of Southern fiction. The storm and its aftermath is most skillfully handled by Katherine Karlin in Muscle Memory, where Destiny, whose father drowned in the flood, tries to learn welding in the shipyard where her father worked. Her fight is far more moving than Stephanie Dickinson's Love City, in which Katrina feels shoehorned into a story of poverty and anger. Best are George Singleton's Between Wrecks, imbued with a strong sense of the everyday bizarre and dark Southern wit and peopled by a fake arrowhead dealer and grave robbers; and Family Museum of the Ancient Postcards by Stephanie Powell Watts, with its perceptive young narrator and the secrets she keeps for her aunt Ginny. There are some strong, original and revealing stories that offer a different and new way of viewing the South, but far too many are technically sound but bloodless. (Aug.)
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About the Author

Madison Smartt Bell is the author of twelve novels and two short story collections. All Souls' Rising was a finalist for the 1995 National Book Award and the 1996 PEN/Faulkner Award. It won the 1996 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for the best book of the year dealing with matters of race. He has written essays and reviews for Harper's, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, the Village Voice, and many other publications.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Stories from the South (Book 9)
  • Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 2009 ed. edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565126742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565126749
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By K. Foster on September 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a tremendous fan of New Stories from the South (and an owner of every edition) I'd just like to say that if you have been underwhelmed by what we've seen the last few years since Shannon Ravenel retired as editor, give the anthology another try and pick up this edition. This is like the juicy editions of old, where nearly every story was something to sink your teeth into. Several stories have something to do with Hurricane Katrina. A couple were suspenseful. All but one or two commanded my attention. Read it!
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Format: Paperback
Madison Smart Bell, the editor of the 2009 edition of this series, opines, as do many, that "The white Old South, haunted by the Confederacy and the KKK, has pretty well gone up in smoke by this time." Certainly post-Katrina (several of the stories included here have something to do with that event) Louisiana elected an Indian American for its governor-- and a Republican at that-- and I would certainly agree with Mr. Bell's thesis. On the other hand, when an African American woman told us a few years ago that "the wind done gone," she ran into a mud slide from the caretakers of Margaret Mitchell's legacy that would make you think women were still wearing hoop skirts. Obviously-- sad to say-- pockets of the fossilized Old South remain.

In keeping with his statement, Bell includes practically as many women writers as men, many of whom are African American. Add to that mix a Native American and an Indian American (born in West Virginia). Three of the writers are veterans: Jill McCorkle, Wendell Berry and Elizabeth Spencer. Many of the others are newcomers and at least one writer, Clinton J. Stewart, has a first published story. They hail from East Tennessee, West Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Illinois (transplated to New Orleans), Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kansas (transplanted to Florida), Oklahoma (college in North Carolina), and Virginia.

The subject matter is as varied as the writers. A woman learns to weld ("Muscle Memory"), a youngster learns to hunt ("Bird Dog") and a father is reunited with a daughter he lost in a divorce ("Sightings"). Many of the stories entertain-- is there a better reason to read fiction?-- or make a statement about what it means to be human and often say something profound that turns a light on for the reader.
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I gave this as a Christmas present for my son. He said it was great.
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