Southern Gothic: Background information when reading A Good Hard Look

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Good Hard Look

A Novel

by Ann Napolitano

A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2012, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Southern Gothic

Print Review

A number of reviewers describe A Good Hard Look as "Southern Gothic". gothic novels Gothic fiction generally combines elements of horror and romance, and might include, among many other features, psychological or physical terror, mystery, the supernatural, gothic architecture, darkness, death and madness. One of, if not the earliest example of a gothic novel is Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764), and more recent examples include The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

Gothic writers tend to use the genre, in part, as a vehicle to criticize the morality of their era, but whereas traditional gothic novels tend to include supernatural elements, more modern gothic novels, including Southern gothic, often rely less on the supernatural and more on damaged personalities and the plight of those oppressed by traditional culture. For example, William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (1929), often cited as the first example of Southern gothic, chronicles the disintegration of a Southern family, and contains elements of violence and grotesque characters against a background of decay; while Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940), set in a 1930s mill town, gives voice to the rejected, overlooked and mistreated.

Many of America's best known 20th century writers are considered to have written in the Southern gothic style at least some of the time, including Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Flannery O'Connor. More recent works include Beloved by Toni Morrison, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, The Green Mile by Stephen King, The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, and other titles to be found in BookBrowse's gothic reading list.

This article was originally published in July 2011, and has been updated for the June 2012 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd rather have been talking

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -