I’ve fallen behind in regular posting over here since trying to pull together the new PLUMB blogazine. But, here we go with books read in February and my brief impression of them.
THE SPORTSWRITER by Richard Ford
I’ve great enjoyed previous novels I’ve read by Ford. His Wildlife is greatly underappreciated, and his story collection Rock Springs is fine work, but I found The Sportswriter a distinct challenge. Several readers have pointed out the similarity to Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer in terms of its narrative approach, and in large part I agree. However, with a commitment, this book yields greater riches than Percy’s (though that’s no slight intended to another favorite writer. This book is wise and great and worth effort bit of effort extended.
THE OPTIMIST’S DAUGHTER by Eudora Welty
A slim book with moments of striking imagery that tells of a woman returning to her Mississippi home to deal with the death of her father in a small town. Slim and sharp, this is an excellent introduction to Welty’s sharply observed domestic tales.
DRAG THE DARKNESS DOWN by Matt Baker
A picaresque that turns on its head to become a dark psychological study of family trama and its lasting effects. A great small press book that should receive a wider audience.
BILLIE GIRL by Vickie Weaver
A Southern Gothic bildungsroman that features a decidedly unsympathetic yet compelling protagonist as she stumbles through a bleak but fully realzed tragic narrative.
CATCHING FIRE by Wyatt Wyatt
A real gem by a writer in the vein of Harry Crews. The burden of perfection, sexual excess and the futility of shame are explored in highly entertaining fashion as Wyatt tells of Norman Foreman, aka “The Pigman”.