Top Ten Southern Novels

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.

A Man of Creepy Leisure

A Man of Creepy Leisure AKA Billy Faulkner

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

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Southern Novels

  1. Where’s The Yemassee? No, not really. But I’m a big fan of Eudora Welty’s Losing Battles. As I Lay Dying is pretty good, but I’m there with you on Absalom, Absalom.

    • Hi Jean,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      He’s a Western North Carolina writer. WINTER PEOPLE was made into a movie in the early ’80s with Kurt Russel and Kelly McGillis. The novel is excellent. Another one of his that is particularly good is THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING.

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