Southern Gothic: Background information when reading A Good Hard Look

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A Good Hard Look

A Novel

by Ann Napolitano

A Good Hard Look
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 336 pages
    Jun 2012, 352 pages

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Beyond the Book:
Southern Gothic

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...

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