Monday, April 10, 2006

Songs of the south

During my recent visit to Charleston I stayed across the way from The Citadel. This of course got me thinking about the Lords of Discipline. If you like your bildungsroman to include military academies and the fight against racism, well this one is for you. I recall quite liking it back in the day. I liked Conroy's Prince of Tides all the more. You may have seen the movie, as you might guess the book is better. Back in the 80s, it was one of my favorite books. Here's a caveat, back in the 80s, I thought reading books like Killer Crabs was a good idea. In any case, the Conroy books are afflicted with some truly awful 1980s covers that make them look like romances at best. The awfulness would be a good topic over at the book covers blog.

One nice thing, among many, about the Conroy books is the way they capture the feel, physical and social of living in South Carolina. After Tyler Cowen more or less dissed my home state, I got to thinking about writers that captured the feeling of living in Virginia. Obviously there are lots of Virginias. Fairfax county is as different from Lynchburg as New York is from Miami. So, more importantly, I wanted to find a Virginia familiar to me captured. While the story element of Blood and Guile was decent, I was very pleased with the way the author described certain types of Richmond Virginians. The social interactions, the Lee fixation, the hunting. It all fit. The relationship between long standing friends was also familiar. I'm planning to read his Tidewater Blood, which got better reviews.


Anonymous said...

Minor sidenote: Tom Wolfe actually tries to capture Richmond in A Man In Full, by discussing how Atlanta wants to be Richmond but never will.

Tripp said...

I was thinking of a Man in Full as a nice portrait of Atlanta or at least white upper class Atlanta. I liked that book. Cap peelin' and all.

Brack said...

As I recall, back in the 80s you also had a few of those kinko-bizarre Philip Jose Farmer masterpieces, Like Blown

Tripp said...

Yes..... A fine book that. There was some imprint in the late 60s trying to make sci fi porn novels (or as they would have, speculative erotica) as a new genre. Crazy times.

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