Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quotation Of The Day: Literature Set In Rural America Edition

From this Craig Fehrman article:
There’s a long tradition of shotguns and spare-prose fiction depicting America’s working class, and right now the Midwest is having a literary moment. Dennis Lehane, who anchors his crime novels in Boston, once told an interviewer that “in Greek tragedy they fall from great heights. In noir they fall from the curb.” In books by a small but growing number of authors—besides Bill, Donald Ray Pollock (Ohio), Bonnie Jo Campbell (Michigan), Alan Heathcock (Illinois)—there are no curbs. The roads are gravel and dirt, but the people still find a way to fall.
This makes for more than just good noir. Sometimes the rural Midwest, and rural America more generally, can seem to drown in don’t-bother-locking-the-doors nostalgia. The frustrations of groups like the Tea Party suggest that, in many ways, this near mythology remains as powerful inside the region as out. Against this ideal, consider Bill’s new novel, Donnybrook, whose title refers to a three-day bare-knuckle fighting tournament held every August on former farmland. Fans come to watch, gamble, inhale, imbibe—“like a Dead concert with fists,” a mostly toothless meth head calls it. It’s not so easy to be nostalgic about that.

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