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Books set in the south?
July 4, 2010 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for books that are set in the south preferably in the early 20th century

any book set in the American south, preferably in the twenties or around the first half of the 20th c. like for instance to kill a mockingbird or as hot as it was you ought to thank me (two very different examples, I am looking more for that particular atmosphere than anything else, think dusty roads and girls in cotton dresses and marshes and older men calling young men 'boy')

(though it would be really great if it were terribly engaging fiction)
posted by ameliaaah to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
William Faulkner won the nobel prize for writing about this stuff.

If you're willing to go into the middle of the 20th century I'd highly recommend The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.
posted by alms at 7:20 PM on July 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, Faulkner.
posted by jz at 7:22 PM on July 4, 2010


You might also try Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, or Carson McCullers.
posted by dilettante at 7:25 PM on July 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Flannery O'Connor is more known for her short stories than her novels, but her writing is full of that vibe.

More generally, I think what you want to look for is "Southern Gothic."

Another author who gives off that vibe without being strictly Southern is Willa Cather.
posted by devinemissk at 7:26 PM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh. and maybe Thomas Wolfe.
posted by dilettante at 7:34 PM on July 4, 2010


Who needs that hifalutin' littera-tyoor.

You need to read you Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:46 PM on July 4, 2010


Walker's The Color Purple and Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God both apply.

If you haven't but want to read both, do Hurston first--you'll see where Walker is drawing from. Both brilliant.
posted by smirkette at 8:08 PM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


The first 1/2 of Willie Morris' North Towards Home is some of the best descriptive writing about the deep south I've laid eyes on, outside of Faulkner.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:12 PM on July 4, 2010


Paulette Jiles: Stormy Weather takes place in Depression era East Texas. It's outstanding and you will definitely get your cotton dress fix and terribly engaging fiction fix. Oil wells, peach trees, early telephone lines, and horse racing included.
posted by jschu at 8:15 PM on July 4, 2010


Are plays cool? If so, Tennessee Williams.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:01 PM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Paper Moon.
posted by CathyG at 9:56 PM on July 4, 2010


Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns will fit the bill nicely.
posted by mynameisluka at 10:00 PM on July 4, 2010


the Secret Life of Bees
posted by Lylo at 10:21 PM on July 4, 2010


Cormac McCarthy has three great books about / set in the South:

Suttree - Knoxville, TN in the 1950s.
Outer Dark - early 20th century, undefined South.
and
The Orchard Keeper - probably 1940s, set in part in eastern TN. As a former Tennessean I think I can go on record as saying it has the best-written eastern TN accents that I've ever seen on paper.
posted by komara at 10:32 PM on July 4, 2010


Oops, forgot about McCarthy's Child of God as well. Make that four great books.
posted by komara at 10:33 PM on July 4, 2010


Gonna have to go with All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 10:33 PM on July 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rambling Rose by Calder Willingham is good, as is The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.
posted by h00py at 4:53 AM on July 5, 2010


Came in to suggest Cold Sassy Tree -- I recently read it and loved it.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:24 AM on July 5, 2010




Other Voices, Other Rooms
posted by Splunge at 10:12 AM on July 5, 2010




Chris Sizemore's (who was the Eve of the 3 faces)own memoir.
posted by brujita at 12:11 AM on July 6, 2010


"SOUTHERN GOTHIC" of course, remember that time I spent an entire unit studying this in high school?
sigh, good thing the Things We Learn stay with us forever.

thanks everyone!
posted by ameliaaah at 8:34 AM on July 6, 2010


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