Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NC author attacks Southern "staleness"

The Greensboro News & Record did a great write-up of Kat Meads's new novel When the Dust Finally Settles a few weeks ago. The novel is set in Northeastern North Carolina, just below the Virginia line, in 1968 amid desegregation. According to blogger Charles Wheeler:

The novel attacks staleness. Southern fiction often gets mired in mud holes of stereotypes. This story splashes through them like an open-throttled John Deere. A deputy sheriff is kind, understanding, reasonable and humane. A black high school basketball star is tentative and unsure of himself. A small community welcomes change, though not with wide open arms. It’s not easy. Change never is.

What do you think about Southern stereotypes in fiction? What's the difference between a stereotype and an artistic "rendering" of a region? The Southern authors I admire, like Lee Smith and Tim McLaurin, manage to capture the essence of the South without compromising their characters or the story.

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