Chapel Hill in Plain Sight

Chapel Hill in Plain Sight

by Daphne Athas
     
 
Writer Daphne Athas reveals a time when the eponymous college town was and wasn't the Southern part of heaven. This narrative traverses the twentieth-century milestones—the Depression, World War II, the McCarthy hearings, the transformation of the public university into the juggernaut of the New South's technocracy. She traces the town's literary heritage as

Overview

Writer Daphne Athas reveals a time when the eponymous college town was and wasn't the Southern part of heaven. This narrative traverses the twentieth-century milestones—the Depression, World War II, the McCarthy hearings, the transformation of the public university into the juggernaut of the New South's technocracy. She traces the town's literary heritage as well as generations of local mysteries and murders. She infuses this history with a local population of writers, red-baiters, philosophers, orphans, revolutionaries, and landlords. When Athas and her newly poor family crash-landed in Chapel Hill during the Depression, they settled into life on the other side of the tracks. From that perspective, the precocious, highly educated, teenaged Athas honed her abilities to uncover and dissect myth and secrets to create a chronicle that distills truth from lore. Athas writes of the artists and thinkers who came to Chapel Hill—Betty Smith, Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein, Paul Green, Zora Neale Hurston, Horace Williams, Clifford Odets, William Faulkner, even Ava Gardener make appearances. The famous and notorious intermingle with local characters. The Athas family's idiosyncratic journey is the key to a story of unparalleled discovery and wonder. Daphne Athas is an award-winning writer. Her novel, Entering Ephesus, was named one of Time Magazine's best books of 1971. She has written numerous other books and is the two-time winner of the Sir Raleigh Award. She taught in the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1968 until 2009. She lives in Carrboro, next door to the very house she describes building in Chapel Hill in Plain Sight.

Editorial Reviews

Cliff Bellamy
I am betting that in the years ahead I also will re-read and go back to Carrboro writer and teacher Daphne Athas' collection "Chapel Hill in Plain Sight: Notes from the Other Side of the Tracks." I'm using "memoir" loosely because technically this is a collection of essays (as is McMurtry's book), but they are arranged in a fashion that has a memoir-like quality. There are so many ways to enjoy these different reflections of Chapel Hill by an outsider who became a lifelong observer...
Joe Schwartz
Finally brought out by Eno Publishers, Athas' latest work is full of local tales that wouldn't be told unless she told them. No one else would have quite the detail that comes from having lived them. Her family downsized from a sprawling Massachusetts home to a Merritt Mill Road shack when they lost it all in the Depression. She grew up with the daughters of Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She remembers Richard Wright and Paul Green as they adapted Native Son for the stage....
Katelyn Ferrall
The compilation of essays examines the ups and downs of the town after the Great Depression through the eyes of Athas, the daughter of an educated Greek immigrant and a northeastern transplant to Chapel Hill. The book may appear to be a memoir, but opened wider, the stories not only illuminate the evolution of a town and a university, but also unearth the ambitions, dreams and class systems of her past. It becomes a lens for understanding an increasingly fast-moving Chapel Hill....
Vicky Dickson
Athas tells the unvarnished truth about an often- mythologized place. the essays in Athas’ book begin with her own story of moving from a mansion in Massa- chusetts to a drafty, rat-infested shack “in the colored section,” at the corner of Merritt Mill road and cameron Avenue, and go on from there to examine the lives of professor Horace Williams, writer betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joy in the Morning) and founder of the Intimate bookshop Ab Abernethy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780982077177
Publisher:
Eno Publishers
Publication date:
10/04/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
264
File size:
207 KB

Meet the Author

Daphne Athas is well known in the literary world as a prolific author and well-respected creative writing teacher. She has published four novels, several nonfiction books, a poetry collection, a play, and numerous essays, reviews, and articles since the mid-1940s. Her 1971 novel, Entering Ephesus, was named one of the best books of the year by Time Magazine. Her latest book, Gram-O-Rama: Breaking the Rules (2007), a maverick grammar text, addresses the gap between classic grammar and cyber sound-byte language through hearing, word-play, and performance art. Her work has appeared in many periodicals and publications, including Shenandoah, the Hudson Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune Book World, New World Writing, and American Letters and Commentary. Athas is the recipient of two National Endowment of the Arts Awards and two Sir Walter Raleigh Awards (for her novels Cora and Entering Ephesus). She also has been honored by the Pushcart Prize, New American Writers Award, and the National Foundation of the Arts and Humanities. Athas was a Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1968 until she retired in 2009. She received numerous teaching awards and the University of North Carolina's Lifetime Mentor Award. She has been a Fulbright Professor of American Literature at the University of Tehran. Esquire Magazine recognized her as an important nurturer of the nation's young writers. She lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, next door to the home she describes building with her family and friends in Chapel Hill in Plain Sight.

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