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  • By Shannon Yarbrough
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Some Southern Gothic at its Best!" What is Southern Gothic you might ask? The contest description pointed interested parties to the Wikipedia definition which states the following: Southern Gothic is a subgenre of the Gothic writing style, unique to American literature...it relies on supernatural, ironic, or unusual events to guide the plot. Unlike its predecessor, it uses these tools not for the sake of suspense, but to explore social issues and reveal the cultural character of the American South. That being said, the first place winner, Kerry Donoghue, definitely deserves the award for their short story called “The Pearl.” Meet Harlan and Jezebel (it doesn’t get any more Southern than that, does it?). They are brother and sister. Harlan, a drunk with a bad eye, works on washing machines. Jezebel cooks dinner, practices diving in the Mississippi river and enjoys watching Wheel of Fortune. Yep, the two of them are beaming with stereotypical deep south traits, but Donoghue... More > does not poke fun at them. He embraces them and gives them a voice with dialogue I’ve definitely heard before back home in my Mama’s kitchen. The narrative comes alive with odd imagery that you don’t know if you should admire for being so vivid and real, or laugh at for being so absurd: Harlan stretched his long legs and felt the perspiration river along the backs of his thighes, through the tangles of leg hair, into the dark valleys of his jean shorts. It was only noon and the heat was just getting started. After another sip, Harlan ate his sandwich and from the weedy riverbanks, watched his sister with his good eye. Harlan is more interested in his next bottle of gin while his sister wants to travel to Australia to go pearl diving. What she doesn’t know is that Harlan has been saving money from his various fix-it jobs to pay for her trip but when a bar brawl lands Harlan in jail, his savings has to be used for bail. The 2nd place winner is “The Long Way Home” by Drew McCoy and it reads like a long stretch of Faulkner inspired rambling, only Faulkner did it better. It’s the story of a son on the way to pick up his father who is being released from prison. “The Accident” by Connor De Bruler takes 3rd place for a haunting story that reflects the likes of Flannery O’Connor. It’s only six pages long and follows a mysterious driver who believes he’s hit a dog on the road. He puts the dog in his truck and continues driving into town to seek medical attention for his passenger. The story echoes a camp fire tale made of urban legends, but lets the reader down a bit with a single typo that sticks out like a sore thumb right in the last lines. Seven runner-up stories follow, all of various southern characters and plotlines, any of which deserved at least 2nd place more. “The Last Confession” by Patrick Brian Miller follows a priest whose been assigned to take over a small country church in a tumble weed town. His first visitor to the confessional is one that he, and the reader, probably didn’t expect. “Cut Through Road” by Chris Deal is the first person narrative of a mentally challenged character who gets some unsuspected help from a crook and the opportunity to pay him back. The story itself is quite simple, but the voice of its single character is so sad and honest that it makes this story quite memorable. If only the book had been edited a bit more closely, I’m sure it would be a collection that even someone like Tennessee Williams would enjoy. Congrats to all the winners! Overall, it is an anthology to be quite proud of. Read the full review at The Lulu Book Review.< Less
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Product Details

ISBN
9780955976551
Edition
First Edition
Publisher
PJM Publishing
Published
March 16, 2009
Language
English
Pages
130
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
0.53 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6.14 wide x 9.21 tall
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