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Dixiana Moon
William Price Fox
LSU Press, Voices of the South Series, 2001
ISBN: 0-8071-2746-9

 

 
 

First published in 1981, Dixiana Moon, was praised for its humor, showmanship, and mischief. William Price Fox garnered the attention of critics as diverse as Pauline Kael and George Garrett. The critic at the Los Angeles Times referred to the book as a "Good Ole Boy" novel but, in retrospect, picaresque would have been a more accurate term.

Young Joey Mahaffey has grown up in a household with the best flimflam man of all, his father, Joe Mahaffey. The owner of a nightclub, about an hour out from Pittsburgh in Lorraine, Joe has tried every trend going to make a profit. His bar has been decorated to resemble Granada with a Spanish bullfighter and senoritas on black velvet motif, followed by a Gay Paree theme that included Toulouse-Lautrec wallpaper and Eiffel tower salt and pepper shakers, then it was a Manhattan-skyline look, the Irish look, the Italian look, and the Hollywood look, before becoming "Joe's".

The hustle young Joe learned from his father has given him all the tricks he needs to earn a living as a package salesman for Pioneer Printing and Packaging, based in Omaha. Replacing the New York salesman and taking over his territory on the eastern seaboard, Joe Mahaffey believes he's made his fortune until his favorite supplier is forced to shut down when deputies from the sheriff's department show up expecting financial retribution.

Forced by circumstances to head south, Joey hooks up with the Great Mozingo-Arlo Waters Jubilee and Famous Life of Christ Show in hopes of regrouping. The three slick talking pitchmen take their three-ring circus throughout the south where the customers are waiting to stand in line to purchase genuine Arab-imported pictures of Jesus and holy water.

William Price Fox worked as a bellhop, golf caddy, schoolteacher, and salesman before becoming a writer. His acute sense of observation and the absurd serve him well. Dixiana Moon is filled with bizarre characters, outlandish daydreams, and U-turn after U-turn.

Fox is writer-in-residence and teaches creative writing at the University of South Carolina in his native Columbia. He is the author of four books of fiction including: Ruby Red, Southern Fried, and, most recently, Wild Blue Yonder. He's also published five collections of humor and nonfiction as well as over one hundred articles and stories in magazines such as Esquire, Harper's, and Sports Illustrated.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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