I just finished gorging myself on three novels by Caroline Gordon (pictured above). I read a collection of her short stories last summer, they were fantastic! I have an unwritten rule that I only read Southern Renaissance/Agrarian Literature in the summer, so, I decided to kick off this summer with Aleck Maury, Sportsman, a book based on the hunting/fishing adventures of Gordon’s father with lots of neat themes. I quickly followed that with Penhally, a novel about an old estate in Kentucky and looking at the several generations that pass their lives there. I topped it all off with Women on the Porch, which was allegorically about hell, I think, fun times. All three were fantastic!
Why do I only read South. Lit. in the summer? Well, I don’t think you get the full effect of South. Lit. unless it is hot and humid outside, it stays light until late evening, there are fireflies, and some portions of the book are read on a porch. I can’t read South. Lit. when I am cold or in the winter, it just makes me depressed. I once tried reading Flannery O’Conner’s Wise Blood in late January, it was awful. It was too dark, too depressing. They I tried reading it again in the summer and I could handle it! So far Gordon isn’t as grotesque and stressful as O’Conner, but there are still dark themes that sit better in the summer as opposed to winter.