Chapel Hill in Plain Sight: Notes from the Other Side of the Tracks

Chapel Hill in Plain Sight: Notes from the Other Side of the Tracks

5.0 1
by Daphne Athas
     
 

Through the Depression, World War II, McCarthyism, and other 20th-century milestones, Daphne Athas experienced life in the legendary Southern college town of Chapel Hill. The town was conventional and idiosyncratic, both caught up in racial and class prejudice and ahead of its time. None of this liminal world, nor the effects on it of larger political and cultural

Overview

Through the Depression, World War II, McCarthyism, and other 20th-century milestones, Daphne Athas experienced life in the legendary Southern college town of Chapel Hill. The town was conventional and idiosyncratic, both caught up in racial and class prejudice and ahead of its time. None of this liminal world, nor the effects on it of larger political and cultural forces, escapes Athas s keen writer s eye.

Her personal life is woven through these essays. She writes of her friendships, her youthful adventures, her political revelations, her development as a writer. She retraces her early years in North Carolina, where she was considered an oddity. Hailing from a once-rich family that relocated from Brahmin Boston to a poor neighborhood on the edge of Chapel Hill after losing its fortune in the Depression, she was smart, sophisticated, well educated, and poor. That perspective from the other side of town sharpened her powers of observation, making her work penetrating and full of a sense of discovery.

Athas writes about her friendships and experiences with many well-known writers, among them Richard Wright, Paul Green, Betty Smith, and Max Steele. She tells of the political persecutions of Ab Abernathy (Chapel Hill bookseller) and Junius Scales (the scion of a wealthy family) during the McCarthy era. She reveals the true stories behind Chapel Hill s haunted Gimghoul Castle and the murder of a 72-year-old coed. Her essays bring back to life a town making its way through a radically changing world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780982077139
Publisher:
Eno Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Pages:
243
Sales rank:
1,184,954
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Daphne Athas has published four novels, several nonfiction books, and a collection of poetry. Her 1971 novel, Entering Ephesus, was named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine. She taught in the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for many years before retiring in 2009. She resides in Carrboro, NC.

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Chapel Hill in Plain Sight: Notes from the Other Side of the Tracks 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MerryJones More than 1 year ago
I've never been to Chapel Hill, and certainly not during the Depression, World War II or the McCarthy witch hunt years. But, reading Daphne Athas' memoir-like collection of essays, I feel as if I've known that town and those times intimately. Right from the start, Athas' childhood memories grab you; the events that shaped her life touch you--The loss of the family home during the Depression. The separation of the family while Dad goes south to find work. The reunion and new definition of home, or "Hestia," in the poor section of Chapel Hill. Athas paints the events of her life with such vivid detail that the reader can actually see the curtains. Her use of language is exquisite. Her characters engaging. For readers of memoir and history, for lovers of Chapel Hill, for those who've passed through or never been there--This book is a delight.