Have you noticed it has been hot this summer in the Carolinas?
This year’s heat reminds me of my very first summer in Monroe, NC — 1990, that was — and of the times I’d look out my small office window and see red clay patches in the parsonage lawn.
And when the heat & steam was rising out of that clay, I remember thinking, “This is just like being in a Flannery O’Connor story!” Which it was, it more ways than one.
The O’Connor memories set me to thinking: what are my favorite novels either a) set in the South or b) written by a Southern author?
Here are five (and please forgive the lack of Faulkner; I find him so dense & so stream of consciousness that he is almost incomprehensible):
5. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. What a shame that Ms. Burns died before finishing a follow up to this delightful novel.
4 Deliverance by James Dickey. Book or movie? As always, book.
3. The Confessions Of Nat Turner by William Styron. Not quite as good as Sophie’s Choice but close.
2. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor. Gets an entire chapter in my senior thesis!
1.A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe. The horse mating scene alone makes this one epic. The rise and fall of a powerful man in 1990s Atlanta.