Mississippi Books and Writers

October 2002

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

The Return of GabrielThe Return of Gabriel

By John Armistead

Milkweed Editions (Paperback, $6.95, ISBN: 1571316388)

Publication date: October 2002


In the summer of 1964, freedom workers come to a small Mississippi town to register blacks to vote. The quiet pace of the summer changes dramatically for Cooper and his friends Jubal, who is black, and Squirrel, who is Jewish. The only white member of Oak Grove Baptist Church, Cooper must decide how to react when his father makes him attend Ku Klux Klan meetings. His uncle Chicago helps guide him through the turbulent times. As the summer progresses, the pastor at the church learns of the Klan’s plans in advance. He says the news comes from the Angel Gabriel. When Cooper discovers Gabriel’s identity, he must decide what role he will play, and on which side.

No Second Eden: PoemsNo Second Eden: Poems

By Turner Cassity

Swallow Press (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0804010501)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Booklist:

Poetry isn’t much thought of as a participatory art form, but it is, as critical discussion of voice and tone, which the reader must conjure up, implicates. Form may also ask for participation. Tight metrical and rhyme schemes can require poets to pare language to the bone, and readers to determine the precise meanings of words and syntactical tactics. In poem after poem, Cassity disciplines himself to form, and those who would read him with real comprehension may find immediate rereading necessary—and ever so rewarding. For Cassity regards everything with a cool, dissecting eye, and he exercises verbal and rational cleverness. He brooks no pretension and no romanticizing, even in himself. He well knows what would have happened to Rimbaud had he settled down (see “Boxcar Arthur, the Sequel”). He cuts the crap out of a shopworn parable (see “In the Receiving Line”), out of revolutionary cant (see “Karl and Julius and Gregory; or, Are You a Fructidor?”), and, breathtakingly, out of pseudopatriotic piety (see “WTC”). He is a national treasure. —Ray Olson. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Red Dragon: The Shooting Scripts

By Ted Tally, Thomas Harris

Newmarket Press (Paperback, $18.95, ISBN: 1557045585)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Booklist:

Based on Thomas Harris’ 1981 best-selling novel, a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1988) and Hannibal (1999), in which serial killer Hannibal Lector is first introduced.

Oscar®-nominee Edward Norton stars as ex-FBI agent Will Graham, an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in the process of capturing the elusive Dr. Lector, played again by Academy Award®-winner Anthony Hopkins. Years later, after a series of particularly grisly murders, Graham reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement and assist in the case. But he soon realizes that the best way to catch this killer, known as the Tooth Fairy, is to find a way to get inside the killer’s mind. And the closest thing to that would be to probe the mind of another killer who is equally brilliant and equally twisted. For Graham, that means confronting his past and facing his former nemesis, the now-incarcerated Lector. Oscar®-nominee Ralph Fiennes plays Francis Dolarhyde.

The Newmarket Shooting Script includes the complete screenplay by Ted Tally, an introduction by Tally, 20 b/w film stills, and the film’s complete credits.

La Salle: A Perilous Odyssey from Canada to the Gulf of MexicoLa Salle: A Perilous Odyssey from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico

By Donald Johnson

Cooper Square Press (Hardcover, $26.95, ISBN: 0815412401)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle (1643-1687) was the first man to navigate—with extreme difficulty—the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes region to the Gulf of Mexico, thereby establishing France’s claim on a swath of the North American continent equal to half the size of Europe, which La Salle named Louisiana. Johnson’s new biography of the dauntless explorer provides a detailed panorama of the European nations’ efforts to control North America, and the results these endeavors had on the future of the continent. Johnson also makes use of new information regarding La Salle’s final expedition, in which he was killed by his own men after a failed attempt to reach the mouth of the Mississippi from the Caribbean. How this veteran explorer ended up hundreds of miles off course, for centuries a mystery among historians, is explained here in convincing detail.

Donald Johnson, author of Charting the Sea of Darkness: The Four Voyages of Henry Hudson and Phantom Islands of the Atlantic, lives in Perry, Maine, near Bangor.

William Faulkner: Six Decades of Criticism

Edited by Linda Wagner-Martin

Michigan State University Press (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0870136127)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Few twentieth-century writers are as revered as William Faulkner. This collection brings together the best literary criticism on Faulkner from the last six decades, detailing the imaginative and passionate responses to his still-controversial novels. By focusing on the criticism rather than the works, Linda Wagner-Martin shows the primary directions in Faulkner’s influence on critics, writers, and students of American literature today. This invaluable volume reveals the patterns of change in literary criticism over time, while exploring the various critical streams—language theory, feminism, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis—that have elevated Faulkner’s work to the highest rank of the American literary pantheon.

Linda Wagner-Martin is Hanes Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Recent books include A Historical Guide to Ernest Hemingway, “Favored Strangers”: Gertrude Stein and Her Family, Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life, and a cultural edition of Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives.

In the Land of Dreamy DreamsIn the Land of Dreamy Dreams

By Ellen Gilchrist

Voices of the South Series

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $26.95, ISBN: 0807128295)

First published in 1981

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams is Ellen Gilchrist’s fabled first collection of stories, the book that won her acclaim in 1981 and to which each of her subsequent works has been compared. Peopled largely with young southern females who chafe against the restrictions of their upper-class lives, these stories convey the humor and tragedy to be found wherever retreat into imagination is preferred over reality. Introduced here are Nora Jane Whittington, Rhoda Manning, and other recurring Gilchrist characters beloved for their failures, tenacity, and all-too-human hope in the face of frustrated love.

Raising Positive Kids in a Negative WorldRaising Positive Kids in a Negative World

By Zig Ziglar

Thomas Nelson (Paperback, $14.99, ISBN: 0785264787)

First published in 1985

Publication date: October 2002


A child is not a computer that can be programmed to perform according to our desires. Each child is a unique human being with the free will to choose their path in life. With this in mind, Zig Ziglar shows parents how they can help their kids build a foundation of character from which to make the right choices in life. By modeling attitudes and actions that bring about positive results, parents can help their kids understand that life can be positive and that they have incredible worth in God’s eyes. Drawing from his “I CAN” course which has been taught to over three million participants in over 5000 schools, Ziglar provides sensible guidelines to help parents handle a variety of issues including drugs, discipline, encouragement, television, and dating and sex.

The Little FriendThe Little Friend

By Donna Tartt

Knopf (Hardcover, $26.00, ISBN: 0679439382)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Widely anticipated over the decade since her debut in The Secret History, Tartt’s second novel confirms her talent as a superb storyteller, sophisticated observer of human nature and keen appraiser of ethics and morality. If the theme of The Secret History was intellectual arrogance, here it is dangerous innocence. The death of nine-year-old Robin Cleve Dufresnes, found hanging from a tree in his own backyard in Alexandria, Miss., has never been solved. The crime destroyed his family: it turned his mother into a lethargic recluse; his father left town; and the surviving siblings, Allison and Harriet, are now, 12 years later—it is the early ’70s—largely being raised by their black maid and a matriarchy of female relatives headed by their domineering grandmother and her three sisters.

Although every character is sharply etched, 12-year-old Harriet-smart, stubborn, willful-is as vivid as a torchlight. Like many preadolescents, she’s fascinated by secrets. She vows to solve the mystery of her brother’s death and unmask the killer, whom she decides, without a shred of evidence, is Danny Ratliff, a member of a degenerate, redneck family of hardened criminals. (The Ratliff brothers are good to their grandmother, however; their solicitude at times lends the novel the antic atmosphere of a Booth cartoon.) Harriet’s pursuit of Danny, at first comic, gathers fateful impetus as she and her best friend, Hely, stalk the Ratliffs, and eventually, as the plot attains the suspense level of a thriller, leads her into mortal danger. Harriet learns about betrayal, guilt and loss, and crosses the threshold into an irrevocable knowledge of true evil.

If Tartt wandered into melodrama in The Secret History, this time she’s achieved perfect control over her material, melding suspense, character study and social background. Her knowledge of Southern ethos—the importance of family, of heritage, of race and class—is central to the plot, as is her take on Southerners’ ability to construct a repertoire, veering toward mythology, of tales of the past. The double standard of justice in a racially segregated community is subtly reinforced, and while Tartt’s portrait of the maid, Ida Rhew, evokes a stereotype, Tartt adds the dimension of bitter pride to Ida’s character.

In her first novel, Tartt unveiled a formidable intelligence. The Little Friend flowers with emotional insight, a gift for comedy and a sure sense of pacing. Wisely, this novel eschews a feel-good resolution. What it does provide is an immensely satisfying reading experience. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Description from Booklist:

Tartt’s second novel (following The Secret History, 1992) is well worth the long wait. It is an exceptionally suspenseful, flawlessly written story fairly teeming with outsize characters and roiling emotion, and at its center, in the eye of the storm, is a ruthlessly clever, poker-faced 12-year-old named Harriet. When she was just a baby, her nine-year-old brother, Robin, was murdered. In the years since, her mother has been entirely defeated by her grief, often lying in bed with a headache, while her father has been absent, working in another town. Harriet’s stern grandmother and dithering aunts have idealized and exalted Robin, leaving Harriet and her sister feeling wholly inadequate.

After suffering an immense loss—the firing of her “beloved, grumbling, irreplaceable” black maid and surrogate mother—Harriet decides to get revenge on Danny Ratliff, the man she believes murdered her brother. She thinks she can resurrect the happy family she knows only from photographs. With muscular, visceral descriptive prose and a relentless narrative drive—the climax is almost unbearably tense—Tartt details how a young girl exacts street justice with cold cunning. And the abusive Ratliffs are a stunning creation; hopped up on methamphetamine and twisted dynamics, they are a modern-day version of Faulkner’s Snopes family. Tartt’s first novel was a surprise runaway best-seller; this time around, no one should be taken by surprise. —Joanne Wilkinson. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Tell Me: 30 StoriesTell Me: 30 Stories

By Mary Robison

Counterpoint Press (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 1582432589)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly :

Thirty brief, sharply delineated short stories written over three decades by Robison (Days) chronicle emotional dislocation with witty dispassion. Robison’s characters, usually members of middle-class families, are often pictured grappling with the redefinition of roles, such as the teenaged star-gazing narrator of “An Amateur’s Guide to the Night” and her pill-popping single mother who pass for sisters and go on double-dates together. Or the newly idle Helen of “Independence Day,” recently returned to her father’s grand lakeside house in Ohio, who halfheartedly resists the pressure of her estranged husband, Terry, to get on with her life. Epiphanies are of less interest to Robison than rendering the shimmering immediacy of situation: “I could be getting married soon. The fellow is no Adonis,” establishes straightaway the art teacher of “In Jewel,” whose engagement means a way out of the dead-end eponymous miner town she’s always lived in. Robison locates her fairly comfortable characters anywhere from Beverly Hills (“Smoke”) to Ophelia, Ohio (“While Home”), to Washington, D.C. (“Smart”); they are waiting for rides in the rain or for babies to be born or for life, simply, to go on. And in every story her characters make valiant, hit-or-miss attempts to connect with one another. The brevity of these tales sometimes leaves the reader hanging, especially since their author delights in oblique details and non sequiturs. Yet nothing is superfluous, and in the spare sadness of Robison’s prose entire lives are presented. As the fiancée of “In Jewel” concludes, “All that I’ve ever owned or had is right out here for you to examine.” Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Shifting InterludesShifting Interludes: Selected Essays

By Willie Morris , edited by Jack Bales

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $28.00, ISBN: 1578064783)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Covering the span of his forty-year career, a collection of eloquent essays by one of the South’s favorite writers.

In the course of his career Willie Morris (1934­1999) attained national prominence as a journalist, editor, nonfiction writer, novelist, memoirist, and news commentator. As this eloquent book reveals, he was also a master essayist whose gift was in crafting short compositions.

Shifting Interludes, an anthology that spans his career of forty years, includes pieces he wrote for the Daily Texan, Texas Observer, the Washington Star, Vanity Fair, Southern Living, and other publications. These diverse works reflect the scope of Morris’s wide-ranging interests. The collection comprises biographical profiles, newspaper editorials and columns, political analyses, travel narratives, sports commentaries, book reviews, and his thoughts—both critical and affectionate—about his beloved home state of Mississippi.

Two essays are previously unpublished—“A Long-ago Rendezvous with Alger Hiss” and “The Day I Followed the Mayor around Town.” One essay, “Mississippi Rebel on a Texas Campus,” is the first article he wrote for a national publication.

Morris’s subjects reflect his autobiography, his poignant feelings, and his courtly manners. He expresses his outrage as he decries Southern racism in “Despair in Mississippi,” his melancholy as he recounts a visit to his hometown Yazoo City in “The Rain Fell Noiselessly,” his grace as he salutes a college football team and its fallen comrade in “In the Spirit of the Game,” his humor as he admits to a bout of middle-age infatuation in “Mitch and the Infield Fly Rule,” and his pensiveness as he remembers his much-loved grandmother Mamie in “Weep No More, My Lady.”

Willie Morris is one of Mississippi’s most acclaimed writers and a former editor of Harper’s. University Press of Mississippi reissued two of his works, North Toward Home and The Courting of Marcus Dupree, and most recently published My Mississippi, on which he collaborated with his son, the photographer David Rae Morris. Jack Bales, the reference and humanities librarian at Mary Washington College and a friend of Morris’s, compiled and edited Conversations with Willie Morris (also published by the University Press of Mississippi).

One Writer's ImaginationOne Writer’s Imagination: The Fiction of Eudora Welty

By Suzanne Marrs

Louisiana State University Press (Hardcover, $59.95, ISBN: 0807128015; Paperback, $24.95, ISBN: 0807128414)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

In One Writer’s Imagination, Suzanne Marrs draws upon nearly twenty years of conversations, interviews, and friendship with Eudora Welty to discuss the intersections between biography and art in the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work. Through an engaging chronological and comprehensive reading of the Welty canon, Marrs describes the ways Welty’s creative process transformed and transfigured fact to serve the purposes of fiction. She points to the sparks that lit Welty’s imagination—an imagination that thrived on polarities in her personal life and in society at large.

Marrs offers new evidence of the role Welty’s mother, circle of friends, and community played in her development as a writer and analyzes the manner in which her most heartfelt relationships—including her romance with John Robinson—inform her work. She charts the profound and often subtle ways Welty’s fiction responded to the crucial historical episodes of her time—notably the Great Depression, World War II, and the civil rights movement—and the writer’s personal reactions to war, racism, poverty, and the political issues of her day. In doing so, Marrs proves Welty to be a much more political artist than has been conventionally thought.

Scrutinizing drafts of Welty’s work, Marrs reveals an evolving pattern of revision increasingly significant to the author’s thematic concerns and precision of style. Welty’s achievement, Marrs explains, confirms theories of creativity even as it transcends them, remaining in its origins somewhat mysterious.

Marrs’s relationship to Eudora Welty as a friend, scholar, and archivist—with access to private papers and restricted correspondence—makes her a unique authority on Welty’s forty-year career. The eclectic approach of her study speaks to the exhilarating power of imagination Welty so thoroughly enjoyed in the act of writing.

Suzanne Marrs is a professor of English at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and has served as Welty Scholar at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. A recipient of the Phoenix Award for Distinguished Welty Scholarship, she is the author of The Welty Collection: A Guide to the Eudora Welty Manuscripts and Documents at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and coeditor of Eudora Welty and Politics: Did the Writer Crusade?

Homesick: A MemoirHomesick: A Memoir

By Sela Ward

Regan Books (Hardcover, $24.95 ISBN: 0060394366)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

This earnest memoir by Ward, the 46-year-old star of the 1990s sitcom hits Sisters and Once & Again and spokesperson for Sprint long distance, juxtaposes a jet-setting Hollywood image with a smalltown Mississippi past. More sugared up than a glass of Southern iced tea, the book will surely build Ward’s reputation with her TV fan base, as it doesn’t delve deep into Ward’s psyche or tell all about the biz. It’s targeted at the women Ward grew up with in Meridian, Miss., the same women she wants to reunite with now that she’s returned there to begin settling down, loaded with cash, a Los Angeles venture capitalist husband and their two children. The fascinating trajectory of Ward’s ideal American woman’s life she went from cheerleader and homecoming queen at the University of Alabama to fashion model and fixture of New York nightlife should intrigue readers who can relate to culture shock. There’s also a smattering of intelligently researched treatises on civil rights and on the contemporary crumbling of social bonds. A portion of the book’s proceeds will go to a foundation for abused and neglected children that Ward founded last year in Meridian. Her overly saccharine tendencies notwithstanding, Ward gives readers a cute story of a smalltown girl’s rise to celebrity. Photos. —Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Shadows of God The Shadows of God

By J. Gregory Keyes

The Age of Unreason, Book 4

Del Rey (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0345455835)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

In the fourth and final volume in his Age of Unreason series (Newton’s Cannon, etc.), Keyes brings his multi-threaded yarn to a thrilling conclusion. Based on the premise that Sir Isaac Newton devised a theory of alchemy that led to the industrial use of demons, the book builds to a climactic confrontation to see who will reshape the universe. Chief among Newton’s apprentices are wizard/scientist Benjamin Franklin, South Carolina’s ambassador to the court of New Paris (Mobile), and Adrienne de Montchevreuil, sorceress and heir to a secret tradition.

Against them is Adrienne’s son, Nicolas (aka the Sun Boy), with his army of Russians, Mongols and Coweta natives that sweeps over the Great Plains. Such imaginative devices as demon-levitated airships and aetherschreibers (wireless sets) lend interest to the author’s alternate 18th-century world, as do revelations behind certain historical events, like the identity of who helped Louis XIV drop a comet on London.

Keyes entertains both with details of everyday life and with the conversations of people who may not have met but should have. He produces a fine pastiche of the formal writing of Voltaire (who appears as Franklin’s friend and rival), marred only by a more modern “crash cut” narrative, which occasionally jumps mid-scene or reverses chronology, diffusing the suspense. Still, with the unfolding of secrets and past deeds, Keyes brings a welcome level of character uncertainty to the deterministic Newtonian novel. —Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Three Plays by Beth Henley

By Beth Henley

Dramatists Play Service (Paperback, $5.95, ISBN: 0822218755)

Publication date: October 2002


Three one-act plays by Beth Henley: Control Freaks, L-Play, and Sisters of the Winter Madrigal.

The Journey Home The Journey Home: A Father’s Gift to His Son

By Clifton L. Taulbert

Council Oak Books (Hardcover, $15.95, ISBN: 157178117X)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Clifton Taulbert wanted to give his twenty-year-old son Marshall a present that would carry lasting meaning. But how could he surpass the possessions and experiences Marshall already enjoyed—nice cars, spring break in Cancun? All light years from his own humble childhood in the rural south, recalled in his bestselling memoir, Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored.

The gift Taulbert decided to give his son wasn’t the one most twenty-year-olds would immediately appreciate: he would take his son on a journey home to meet the people of rural Glen Allan, Mississippi—neighbors and friends whose insights and kindnesses had nurtured Taulbert through his childhood.

This is the tale of a caring father determined to help his affluent son understand some of the meaning of family, community and love.

Sixth Inning in Southaven

By Phil Hardwick

Quail Ridge Press (Paperback, $9.95, ISBN: 1893062406)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Jack Boulder’s personal world comes apart after his high school sweetheart rejects his marriage proposal, a police officer issues him a speeding ticket and he gets arrested for murder—all in the same day. He can do little about the first two problems, but Mississippi’s premier private investigator faces prosecution for a crime he did not commit unless he finds out who really killed a local baseball coach. His clues are found in cryptic messages based on the score in the top of the sixth inning of certain games at Snowden Grove Park, a youth baseball Mecca in Southaven, Mississippi.

Phil Hardwick loves a good mystery. Early in his career he solved real ones as a police officer and state investigator. Sixth Inning in Southaven is the ninth volume in his Mississippi Mysteries Series, a collection of exciting novellas which unfold in various locations throughout Mississippi. Phil is an award-winning columnist whose column appears in the Mississippi Business Journal. He and his family reside in Jackson.

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