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ARTICLE_DATE May, 18 2017 11:22:00
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ARTICLE_DESCRIPTION Explore the dark underbelly of Southern life with these gritty and grotesque American tales.
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ARTICLE_TEXT <p>The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines &quot;gothic&quot; as anything &quot;of or relating to a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents.&quot; Though the earliest Gothic novels took place in the crumbling castles and dreary wastes of Western Europe, it wasn&#39;t long before the genre crossed the Atlantic and took on a distinctly American flavor. Southern Gothic literature is one of the largest and most diverse subgenres, first popularized in the mid-20th century by masters such as William Faulkner and Flannery O&#39;Connor and still thriving today. If you&#39;re looking for a book that puts the &quot;grit(s)&quot; in &quot;gritty,&quot; look no further than this list!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780679745648/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Atruman+capote%29+%28t%3Aother+voices+other+rooms%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Other Voices, Other Rooms</a>&quot; by Truman Capote</p><p>Published when Capote was only 23, &quot;Other Voices, Other Rooms&quot; is a semi-autobiographical novel with all the trappings of a classic Southern Gothic tale: a sultry Alabama setting, a decaying mansion with an eccentric owner, a mysterious woman in white roving the grounds, and a pervasive atmosphere of secrecy and legend. Fans of &quot;To Kill a Mockingbird&quot; will note that Capote draws on much of the same raw material as his childhood friend, Harper Lee (there&#39;s even a parallel to Scout in the character of Idabel), but the effect here is much spookier.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780062088147/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Awiley+cash%29+%28t%3Aa+land+more+kind+than+home%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">A Land More Kind Than Home</a>&quot; by Wiley Cash</p><p>When the snake-handling, faith-healing pastor Carson Chambliss comes to Madison County, North Carolina and sets up shop in an abandoned grocery store, some of the locals are wary of his sinister brand of old-time religion. But things take an even darker turn when a pair of young brothers catch the pastor in a sin. Before long, the older of the boys--the mute, autistic Stump Hall--winds up dead at a church service, and the rule of law (represented by the outsider sheriff, Clem Barefield) finds itself pitted against Chambliss&#39; Old Testament wrath. A well-drawn cast of characters and an authentic narrative voice make this a worthy addition to the Southern Gothic canon.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=067973225X/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Awilliam+faulkner%29+%28t%3Aas+i+lay+dying%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">As I Lay Dying</a>&quot; by William Faulkner</p><p>William Faulkner&#39;s famous novel follows the Bundren clan, a poor rural family, as they traverse 40 miles of treacherous Mississippi countryside in order to fulfill their mother&#39;s dying wish: to be buried in her hometown with her kin. The morbidly comic premise, distinct characters, and expert blend of both Southern dialect and a highly poetic stream-of-consciousness&nbsp;style make this not only a masterpiece of Southern Gothic literature, but an American classic as well.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780307341549/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Agillian+flynn%29+%28t%3Asharp+objects%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Sharp Objects</a>&quot; by Gillian Flynn</p><p>The Southern Gothic genre proves&nbsp;a unexpected fit for Gillian Flynn, the bestselling author of &quot;Gone Girl&quot; and &quot;Dark Places.&quot; This novel, her first, is the story of Camille Preaker, a journalist who must return to her hometown in the Missouri Bootheel to investigate the murder of two young girls. Taking up residence in her family&#39;s Victorian mansion, with a neurotic mother and a beautiful&nbsp;half-sister she hardly&nbsp;knows for company, Camille begins to unravel a mystery that touches her more deeply than she originally realized. Flynn excels at stories of family intrigue and long-buried secrets, and these are hallmarks of all the best Southern Gothic writing as well.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780679728733/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Acormac+mccarthy%29+%28t%3Aouter+dark%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Outer Dark</a>&quot; by Cormac McCarthy</p><p>The Tennessee-raised author of &quot;The Road,&quot; &quot;Blood Meridian&quot; and &quot;No Country for Old Men&quot; has a penchant for&nbsp;the dark and twisted, so it should come as no surprising&nbsp;that he dabbled in the Southern Gothic genre early in his career. &quot;Outer Dark&quot; is the bleak tale of a brother and sister&#39;s journey through the Appalachian countryside,&nbsp;to find a baby the brother has abandoned. Along the way they encounter perils of an almost biblical nature, and are pursued by three evil men who may or may not be human. An often brutal book, but one that rewards readers with its stark, mythical beauty.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=0618526412/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Acarson+mccullers%29+%28t%3Athe+heart+is+a+lonely+hunter%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">The Heart is a Lonely Hunter</a>&quot; by Carson McCullers</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=0394535979/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Atoni+morrison%29+%28t%3Abeloved%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Beloved</a>&quot; by Toni Morrison</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780374530631/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Aflannery+o%27connor%29+%28t%3Awise+blood%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Wise Blood</a>&quot; by Flannery O&#39;Connor</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780061470851/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Aron+rash%29+%28t%3Aserena%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Serena</a>&quot; by Ron Rash</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt=" " title=" " vspace="1" hspace="4" align="left" src="http://www.syndetics.com/index.aspx?isbn=9780316057561/SC.GIF&amp;client=sprgr&amp;type=springimage" />&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Adaniel+woodrell%29+%28t%3Athe+outlaw+album%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">The Outlaw Album</a>&quot; by Daniel Woodrell</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><b>Still wanting more? Check out these other library titles with a Southern Gothic feel:</b></p><p>&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Abill+cheng%29+%28t%3Asouthern+cross+the+dog%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Southern Cross the Dog</a>&quot; by Bill Cheng</p><p>&quot;<a href="http://www.coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Awilliam+gay%29+%28t%3Alittle+sister+death%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Little Sister Death</a>&quot; by William Gay</p><p>&quot;<a href="https://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Adonald+ray+pollock%29+%28t%3Athe+heavenly+table%29&amp;Submit.x=10&amp;Submit.y=19&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">The Heavenly Table</a>&quot; by Donald Ray Pollock</p><p>&quot;<a href="http://www.coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Akaren+russell%29+%28t%3Aswamplandia%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">Swamplandia!</a>&quot; by Karen Russell</p><p>&quot;<a href="http://coolcat.org/search~S1/X?searchtype=X&amp;searcharg=%28a%3Asteve+yates%29+%28t%3Athe+legend+of+the+albino+farm%29&amp;Submit.x=0&amp;Submit.y=0&amp;Submit=Submit&amp;SORT=D&amp;searchscope=1">The Legend of the Albino Farm</a>&quot; by Steve Yates</p>
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Books & Authors

Southern Gothic Literature

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "gothic" as anything "of or relating to a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents." Though the earliest Gothic novels took place in the crumbling castles and dreary wastes of Western Europe, it wasn't long before the genre crossed the Atlantic and took on a distinctly American flavor. Southern Gothic literature is one of the largest and most diverse subgenres, first popularized in the mid-20th century by masters such as William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor and still thriving today. If you're looking for a book that puts the "grit(s)" in "gritty," look no further than this list!

 

 "Other Voices, Other Rooms" by Truman Capote

Published when Capote was only 23, "Other Voices, Other Rooms" is a semi-autobiographical novel with all the trappings of a classic Southern Gothic tale: a sultry Alabama setting, a decaying mansion with an eccentric owner, a mysterious woman in white roving the grounds, and a pervasive atmosphere of secrecy and legend. Fans of "To Kill a Mockingbird" will note that Capote draws on much of the same raw material as his childhood friend, Harper Lee (there's even a parallel to Scout in the character of Idabel), but the effect here is much spookier.

 

 "A Land More Kind Than Home" by Wiley Cash

When the snake-handling, faith-healing pastor Carson Chambliss comes to Madison County, North Carolina and sets up shop in an abandoned grocery store, some of the locals are wary of his sinister brand of old-time religion. But things take an even darker turn when a pair of young brothers catch the pastor in a sin. Before long, the older of the boys--the mute, autistic Stump Hall--winds up dead at a church service, and the rule of law (represented by the outsider sheriff, Clem Barefield) finds itself pitted against Chambliss' Old Testament wrath. A well-drawn cast of characters and an authentic narrative voice make this a worthy addition to the Southern Gothic canon.

 

 "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner

William Faulkner's famous novel follows the Bundren clan, a poor rural family, as they traverse 40 miles of treacherous Mississippi countryside in order to fulfill their mother's dying wish: to be buried in her hometown with her kin. The morbidly comic premise, distinct characters, and expert blend of both Southern dialect and a highly poetic stream-of-consciousness style make this not only a masterpiece of Southern Gothic literature, but an American classic as well.

 

 "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn

The Southern Gothic genre proves a unexpected fit for Gillian Flynn, the bestselling author of "Gone Girl" and "Dark Places." This novel, her first, is the story of Camille Preaker, a journalist who must return to her hometown in the Missouri Bootheel to investigate the murder of two young girls. Taking up residence in her family's Victorian mansion, with a neurotic mother and a beautiful half-sister she hardly knows for company, Camille begins to unravel a mystery that touches her more deeply than she originally realized. Flynn excels at stories of family intrigue and long-buried secrets, and these are hallmarks of all the best Southern Gothic writing as well.

 

 "Outer Dark" by Cormac McCarthy

The Tennessee-raised author of "The Road," "Blood Meridian" and "No Country for Old Men" has a penchant for the dark and twisted, so it should come as no surprising that he dabbled in the Southern Gothic genre early in his career. "Outer Dark" is the bleak tale of a brother and sister's journey through the Appalachian countryside, to find a baby the brother has abandoned. Along the way they encounter perils of an almost biblical nature, and are pursued by three evil men who may or may not be human. An often brutal book, but one that rewards readers with its stark, mythical beauty.

 

 "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers

 

 

 

 

 "Beloved" by Toni Morrison

 

 

 

 

 "Wise Blood" by Flannery O'Connor

 

 

 

 

 "Serena" by Ron Rash

 

 

 

 

 "The Outlaw Album" by Daniel Woodrell

 

 

 

 

Still wanting more? Check out these other library titles with a Southern Gothic feel:

"Southern Cross the Dog" by Bill Cheng

"Little Sister Death" by William Gay

"The Heavenly Table" by Donald Ray Pollock

"Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell

"The Legend of the Albino Farm" by Steve Yates


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