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 Fiction Review   

 

The Shining Shining Path
By Carroll Dale Short
NewSouth Books, 2002
Trade paper $17.00 (393pp)
ISBN: 1-58838-071-8
 
 
 

A regional favorite, Carroll Dale Short's The Shining Shining Path(1995), has recently been reissued by New South Press in paperback. The novel's popularity owes much to the author's ability to combine Southern storytelling with new age mysticism creating an epic struggle between good and evil. Carroll Dale Short channels Buddhism in The Shining Shining Path in much the same way George Lucas channeled Joseph Campbell in "Star Wars." 

Turner, a Southern good ol' boy with a charming grin, is a survivor. Orphaned by his parents at a young age, he grew up in Zion Hill, Alabama, a place he still considers "home."  A Vietnam veteran, he's seen and destroyed enough to last a lifetime. His current profession as a rock and roll promoter allows him to bring people joy while earning enough money to own houses in Birmingham and Key West, as well as travel by Lear jet. Success hasn't changed him or his family. Turner's grandfather may be the only person on the planet who doesn't recognize Mick Jagger. 

Turner's lastest foray into the music business involves a troupe of six Buddhists. They are traveling to small venues with the intention of making Americans more aware of the culture of their country and religion. The prophecies predict that within every generation there is a "Hope," and an eventual battle to save the world from evil. While Turner has been told he's the hope, he disbelieves. He struggles with what is good within himself and whether or not he has the ability to love. 

As Turner finds his own "shining shining path," his becomes the eternal quest, what Campbell called, "the hero's journey." Turner is called to adventure, given helpers, forced to regroup, returns for rescue, and reaches apotheosis. 

Short, a native of Shanghai, Alabama, currently lives in Birmingham and is at work on a new novel and a book of narrative nonfiction about race relations in the American South.

 
Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

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