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Fiction Reviews    

The Bark of the Dogwood:
A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens
By Jackson Tippett McCrae
The Enolam Book Group, Inc., 2002
Hardcover, $28.00 (563pp)
ISBN: 0-9715536-0-2

If William Faulkner and Jorge Luis Borges had collaborated on a novel, the resulting book would read something like Jackson Tippett McCrae's The Bark of the Dogwood: A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens. Told in a story within a story framework, Strekfus Beltzenschmidt, the novel's narrator, has settled into a simple life in New York.   

When an assignment from his editor coincides with the death of the black woman who "raised" him, Strekfus decides the time is right to revisit and reexamine his haunting childhood.    

Using articles on Southern houses and gardens as a metaphor, Strekfus reveals to himself, his friends, his co-workers, and his readership, the deep conflicts within himself.    

The Bark of the Dogwood is rich in complexity -- wordplay, anagrams, and puzzles. With its' themes of ennui, mid-life crisis, family dysfunction, sexual orientation, and race, the novel isn't for the faint-hearted.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews


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