This year, acclaimed short-story writer ZZ Packer chooses twenty distinctive stories representing the great number of voices and narratives coming out of the South. Some of the youngest and freshest talents on the literary horizon—Bret Anthony Johnston, Kevin Brockmeier, Holly Goddard Jones—accompany well-known Southern stalwarts, including Pinckney Benedict, Clyde Edgerton, and Ron Rash. Their stories tell of life as it is now, a life not seen in romanticized Southern fiction, one where existence—both urban and rural—is as raw and risky as it is alluring. The energy of this collection courses through every one of Packer's edgy, funny, and gritty selections.
From the Back Cover:
For this year's volume, acclaimed writer ZZ Packer chooses some of the youngest and freshest voices on the literary horizon to accompany a host of well-established writers. And the stories they write tell of the South as it is now, the one not seen in the romanticized Southern fiction, but one where life is raw and risky. Here you'll find young girls encountering their first taste of corrupt adult world, a boy meeting his father for the first time, an uncle dealing with a nephew who's turned to meth. But this is still the South, and there is an alligator to be dealt with, a hurricane churning offshore, and the belief that a day at the beach can cure all.
As ZZ packer says in her introduction, "the sit-ins, the marches, the hope of better days...began in the South. Every other region can jam its fingers in its ears and shake its head and tunelessly chant 'Not in My Backyard,' but not so in the South. The South is the backyard. And as backward as we've been portrayed—or as backward as we've sometimes portrayed ourselves, slipping behind a curtain of innocent and naïve agrarianism, rural somnolence, and sleepy everlasting vowels—the truth is that every awful and beautiful thing that has happened in America happened in the South first." You'll feel the pulse of the South coursing through every one of her selections.
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