Fiction Anthology Review
In the forward to this anthology, George Garrett gives a
history of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and their goals for the
future. The organization was
founded in 1989 and meets biennially at the University of
fiction anthology is the first published project, which will be followed
by books of non-fiction and poetry. All
earnings from The Cry of an Occasion will go to the Fellowship.
George Garrett concludes, “It is our hope that this book, these
books, will give to the reader a sense of the direction and development of
Southern writing in our time.”
Nineteen members of the Fellowship contributed short
stories to this collection. Each
provides a window into the Southern experience, whether it is a
dysfunctional family during a funeral or a slave in 1862 running toward
“The Encyclopedia Daniel,” by Fred Chappell.
A boy is creating his own encyclopedia by writing a page in his
notebook about everything he knows about a subject.
He carefully works down the alphabet, but one day jumps from
“cows” to “fish”. There
are words and emotions hard to understand, like “father”.
“Death and Joy,” by Barry Hannah.
In an Oxford, Mississippi bar sits Elkin Dixon Willifox, who looks
like the late Tennessee Williams on a bad day.
A poet unsuccessful in his desire of men, Willifox died an
alcoholic. Hannah laments how
Willifox missed the literary awards and accolades achieved by Allen
“Life Prerecorded,” by Jill McCorkle.
Set in Boston, a pregnant woman craves a cigarette and dreams of
giving birth to kittens. She befriends Joseph, an elderly neighbor, who walks with and
watches over her. The dreams
continue as she jumps from the different scenes in her life.
“Between the Lines,” by Lee Smith.
Mrs. Joline B. Newhouse is a columnist for the local newspaper.
She writes social news to give hope and inspire.
For the truth, you have to read between the lines.
Richard Bausch, who has authored five story collections and
eight novels, is the Heritage Professor of Writing at George Mason
University. Like many
advocates of southern writing, Bausch as editor of this work expresses the
collection of exceptional stories is “the cry of an occasion”—a
phrase he first heard from Allen Wier.
This reviewer agrees.
© 2001 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved