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Natchez Burning
Rich in Southern atmosphere and electrifying plot turns.
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Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

Created: 09/23/15

Replies: 19

Posted Sep. 23, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

What do you think makes Natchez Burning such a recognizable Southern tale? Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?


Posted Sep. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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viviant

Join Date: 10/26/11

Posts: 23

RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I think that Southern literature, just as with American versus non-American literature, has a distinctive feel and voice. There's an easy ebb-and-flow to the speech and action and very little is rushed (generally speaking). The "Southern Voice," whether it's found in contemporary authors like Greg Iles, Ron Rash, John Grisham, or Pat Conroy, carries on a tradition found with Faulkner, Wolfe, Williams, Mitchell, O'Connor, and Welty. The writing seems to embrace Southern culture on one hand while criticizing traditional practices that need to be eradicated or changed on the other.


aka The Book Diva
Posted Sep. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

The voice of a Southern author usually comes through as much as an accent and expressions (like "y'all") in personal conversations. It's the same way I feel about books based in other areas of the United States; if I have lived in a state or an area and a book is set there, I sense right away whether or not the author knows what he or she is talking about. Trying to pinpoint the identifiable quality of Southern novels and novelists makes me think about the distinct differences I felt when I moved to the South from another area:the weather was often hot and humid, people enjoyed parties, and men seemed openly appreciative of pretty females. All of that is conveyed by Southern novelists.


Posted Sep. 28, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I think that most Southern novels are unigue in the fact that they are written about the South and by authors who are the products of that area's history. That history is very different from most other parts of the country an it shows in the stories told and the voices of the characters. Compared to a Southern cozy mystery this story is another whole thing but it is uniquely Southern. I have always felt books placed in the South have a strong sense of place quickly established by descriptions of the local flora and fauna and architecture and the imbuing all the characters with a recognizable love for the place they live and how special it is to them.


Posted Sep. 28, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

Even after all these years the South is still the South and you always get that vive when you read any book about it or by it's authors. The South is still full of buried secrets!


Posted Sep. 29, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

Being a southerner I see a lot of real life in southern novels. There is usually an abondent amount of slightly unbalanced characters. Family ties in the south tend to be very strong. Daddy always thinks he rules the roost, but we all know that it is that steel magnolia, Momma, who is the strength of the family.


Posted Sep. 29, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I haven't read all that many Southern novels, but the ones I have read always seem to deal with racism in some form. Southern novels have a strong sense of place because the climate, fauna etc. are so different from the rest of the country. I always associate the south with tales of the supernatural, maybe because of all the Anne Rice books I've read. ??


Posted Oct. 01, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
irisf

Join Date: 01/16/12

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I've never thought about this. Thinking about books I've read and enjoyed that were written by southerners I think about Gone With the Wind, Steel Magnolia, anything written by Pat Conroy ( my favorite author), To Kill A Mockingbird, Go Tell A Watchman etc. I realize that they are characterized by not only strong character development, but a strong sense of the south itself. The portrait of the south almost becomes a character in its own right.


Posted Oct. 01, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sarahh

Join Date: 03/05/12

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

To me, what makes southern novelists unique is they are able to share the secrets and nuances of the South, in a way that can be only be done by someone with first hand experience. If people who never lived in the south wrote a Southern novel, the character of location becomes a caricature. The charm, the beauty and the darkness of a place can only truly be conveyed by someone who has had a relationship with that place.


Posted Oct. 01, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BamaCarol

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 37

RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I guess since I have always lived in the South, the novels always exude a sense of home to me. At least the ones from a true Southern born novelist. I can always tell if the novelist is not from the South but has placed their novel there. Just like if a movie star is effecting a Southern accent. Just a feeling of home and comfort.


Posted Oct. 02, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

The Southern location tends to function as a character in and of itself - and it is clear that the author knows and loves (or hates - the emotion is always strong) it. WQhile quirky characters and a Southern vernacular aren't a requirement they are common, as is a stress on family relationships (good and bad). Conroy captures this, as do Lee Smith, Flannary O'Conner, Harper Lee, William Faulkner - it's a long list!


Posted Oct. 04, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

If the author hails from the south and the plots setting is south, an unmistakable vibe is present. Dialog, references, surrounds, historical points, you can mistake the charm along with the tone of the book.


Posted Oct. 05, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

It's simply a feeling, an atmosphere, a pace to the language and action. Done well, the reader feels like he is in the South. One can smell the swamp or Bourbon Street or the magnolias. He can hear the drawl of the conversations. To Kill a Mockingbird is the best example of this, in my opinion.


Posted Oct. 05, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
angelaj

Join Date: 06/13/12

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

From the first page, you can always tell it's a "Southern" novel. It has eccentric characters with strong family ties that remain strong even when a family member drives you up a wall. The people identify and take pride in being Southern, even over being American. There's usually a hint of madness due to the excessive heat; and people still remain courteous even as they are delivering veiled and not so veiled threats to one another.


Posted Oct. 06, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marys

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 32

RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I would agree with the comments made before me. It is so true that, just like a Boston accent (my part of the country) the Southern voice can only really be written well by a native. The idioms and nuances are so important, adding a y'all here and a mamma or daddy there, while accurate, doesn't come close to capturing the voice of the region.


Posted Oct. 09, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

The South is unique. Even with all the evil and hate, there is still a charm about the South that shines throughout a novel. All regions have histories but not like the South. The love and pride of the Southerner overlooks the obvious flaws of the South.


Posted Oct. 09, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LindaB.

Join Date: 06/11/14

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I agree with mariannes! I love southern literature but couldn't quite put my finger on why it is different. They usually feature deep family relationships. I love all details about the states themselves as well.


Posted Oct. 11, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

Southern novels have a different feel to them. They tend to move at a slower pace and the characters all act with manners (to a degree). They also seem to always bring in the black vs white theme to a degree.


Posted Oct. 15, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

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RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels and novelists? What is it?

I think there are characteristics of Southern novels that distinguish them from novels about other areas of the country. Often they are very descriptive with dysfunctional characters and racism is often a component. There is usually a contrast between traditional views and more liberal views. The location of the book often resembles a character because it is always important in the story.


Posted Nov. 12, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gdlenehan

Join Date: 06/22/11

Posts: 16

RE: Is there a unique, identifiable quality to Southern novels in and novelists? What is it?

I am a Southerner, and I love Southern literature! There is usually a strong sense of place and setting is important to the story. Racial tension is often present as well. I loved the way Greg Iles tied the history of the 60s to the tragedy of Katrina.


Ladyonthelake

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