Paste magazine put up this list of top ten Southern books this summer and it got me to thinking. When considering the best of the Southern canon, a lot of subjectivity comes into play. Here’s my contribution (albeit a decidedly conservative one). Any other top tens would be welcomed as comments.
10. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
Self-blinding with lime–ah Hazel Motes, will you ever change.
9. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Ann Porter
Beware of a Swede with an Axe
8. Suttree by Cormac McCarthy
The most lavish prose in English
7. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
The best potboiler ever
6. The Marrow of Tradition by Charles Chesnutt
Race riots in Wilmington, North Carolina with the best Bowie knife scene in American Literature (with the possible exception of Blood Meridian)
5. Winter People by John Ehle
Clockmakers can be badasses too
4. Father and Son by Larry Brown
I am not my brother’s keeper
3. Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
Controversial but brilliant
2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Yes, dammit. He is Southern!
1. Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
The best damn book in English