Friday, October 27, 2006

The Old Dominion

My home state, despite living in Oregon, is Virginia. Perhaps it is living away from it, but lately I have felt the desire to read books set in Virginia. Unlike those who call New York, Chicago or Los Angeles home, there is relative paucity of books on the commonwealth.

Based on a Michael Dirda book chat I picked up Ellen Glasgow's Vein of Iron. The book, written in 1935, is set in the western part of the state and follows family from the beginning of the 20th century up into the Depression. This could either be a lost classic or a dated period piece. Since I plan on reading it, my money is obviously on lost classic status.

William Hoffman has written a number of books set in Richmond an its environs. I read Blood and Guile and thought it did a good job in portraying life in certain Virginia social circles. I liked it enough to look for more.

Geographically closest to home is William Styron's A Tidewater Morning, which I read long ago, but I am now considering reading again.

To complete the regional split, we need a satirical novel of life in the NoVa suburbs, perhaps with a dash of the menace and existential terror of Revolutionary Road, the humor of Little Children, and some defense contractor/government worker color and high jinks mixed in.


Steve said...

Read Garrett Epps' "The Shad Treatment", which is the Virginia version of All the King's Men (and is probably its equal as literature, although ATKM gets a free pass in the lit crit world that I don't quite understand). The Shad Treatment is a quasi-fictional account of the 73 gubernatorial race between Henry Howell (a less crazy and decidedly less criminal version of Huey Long) and Mills Godwin. You will still find folks around here who lament the passing of J. Sergeant Reynolds, Howell's predecessor as Lt. Governor. I believe his funeral was the first state funeral held in Virginia since Jefferson Davis' funeral. Brack is likely to know a lot more about all of this.

Tripp said...

Hey I should give that one a read, thanks. I never read ATKM, but that is what I get for not going to Mr. Jefferson's University.

Steve said...

ATKM is set in Louisiana, you knob. No fun in college and a weekend trip to the drunk tank are what you got for not going to Mr. Jefferson's University.

Tripp said...

I know where the book is set, jackass. I was referrring to the fact that all you clowns had to read it before you matriculated.

Ah yes, pity the poor fun-less students who attended other schools. (stares wistfully into the distance)