Body Parts, the
critically acclaimed debut short story collection by Jere Hoar,
appeared in 1997, but the writer is hardly new to the craft of writing.
On the contrary, Hoar has written and taught journalism for more
than three decades, worked part-time in communications law, written
three television scripts for public broadcasting, and published
more than 40 scholarly and other magazine articles, six monographs,
a textbook chapter, and dozens of short stories, several of which
have been anthologized.
Hoar got his start
in journalism early. Born October 23, 1929, in Dyersburg, Tennessee,
his primary and secondary education took place in the public schools
of nine states, most of them southern, but in his own words, he
“grew up” in the newspaper business. His father was
Beginning in high school, Hoar worked
as a reporter, news editor, or editor for two weekly newspapers,
a small daily, and two trade publications. He earned a degree at
Auburn, served in the Air Force during the Korean War period, then
earned graduate degrees at Ole Miss and the University of Iowa.
In 1956 he joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi,
where he taught journalism full-time for 30 years, receiving the
universitys Outstanding Teacher Award in 1974. From 1986 to
1992 he taught part-time at the university, and during the summers
of 1988 and 1990 he taught writing for CCSB, an educational consortium,
at Kings College in London, England.
Hoar “read law” in the
offices of Freeland & Gafford in Oxford and passed the state
bar exam in 1971. Of 338 persons to enter the Mississippi Preceptorship
Program in law during its 22-year existence, Hoar was one of 16
to be admitted to the bar.
Among other honors, his fiction
won the Pirates Alley William Faulkner Prize (co-winner),
the Deep South Writers Conference Competition, and the Kansas Arts
Hoars debut short story collection,
Body Parts, was a notable book of the year selection by three
publications: the New York Times, Booklist (the journal
of the American Library Association), and Bookman News. Praising
its distinctive qualities, range, and humor, critics noted resemblances
in Hoars fiction to that of writers as diverse as Erskine
Caldwell, Flannery OConnor, Barry
Hannah, and William Faulkner
the latter two of whom, like Hoar, live (or lived, in Faulkners
case) in Oxford.
“In 11 stories, the writer
ranges across seven decades and three or four modes of storytelling
to present a rough survey of the mythology and manners of the 20th-century
South,” Tom Drury wrote in the New York Times Book Review.
He noted the collections “inventive and abruptly vivid
sentences and a comic recklessness of imagination,” and said
Hoar is a “consistently keen observer, gifted at finding the
sensory fragments necessary to a moment.”
In New York Newsday, Bill
Vourvoulias said of Hoars literary voice, “It can pop
chill bumps on your neck.”
In 2003, Hoar published his first
novel, The Hit.
(Article first posted August
Related Links & Info
- Body Parts. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi,
- The Hit. Context Books, 2003.
Reviews and Criticism:
- Drury, Tom. Review of Body Parts. New York Times Book Review (25 January 1998).
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