Downhome

( 2 )

Overview

A collection of diverse voices and experiences, all springing from a shared legacy: memories of the american South, of being “downhome.” Mee introduces each group of stories and then lets the authors reveal aspects of the South from their own female point of view. Introduction by the Author.

Downhome speaks through the fiction of these Southern women writers, whether it is embraced or used ironically. Combining 21 stories into ...

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Overview

A collection of diverse voices and experiences, all springing from a shared legacy: memories of the american South, of being “downhome.” Mee introduces each group of stories and then lets the authors reveal aspects of the South from their own female point of view. Introduction by the Author.

Downhome speaks through the fiction of these Southern women writers, whether it is embraced or used ironically. Combining 21 stories into seven sections, Mee introduces each group of stories and then lets the authors reveal aspects of the South from their own female point of view. Contributors include Eudora Welty, Nora Zeale Hurston, Doris Betts, Elizabeth Cox and many others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As the number of regional and thematic anthologies swells to meet academic and general demand, it also threatens any sense of a cumulative American literature. Only a rare editor of Mee's talents can pull together such an exclusive collection of stories and render them inclusive in their broader human concerns. Featuring work by such contemporary Southern celebrities as Ellen Gilchrist, Lee Smith, Bobbie Ann Mason and Dorothy Allison, and such established icons as Zora Neale Huston, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter and Flannery O'Connor, Mee's collection shines a light on the concerns of women born and raised below the Mason-Dixon line. Using seven thematic sections which address ``The Pleasures and Miseries of Marriage'' or ``Settings, Customs, and Artifacts,'' Mee reveals how experience tends toward a certain commonality that transcends time, race, and religion when the land itself seems to keep a grip on its history. ``Full voice, all out, late evening gospel music filled the car and shocked passing traffic,'' says the narrator of Allison's ``Gospel Song.'' The same could be said for Downhome, except Mee (The Girl Who Loved Elvis) hasn't constructed her chorus of voices to strike up a mystical religious fervor. Instead, these stories haunt the reader with their intimacy, their language, and their keen eye for the telling detail. (Oct.)
Library Journal
In Southern Women's Writing, editors Weaks (English, Rockford Coll.) and Perry (English, Westminster Coll.) have compiled an exceptional collection of writings by women who have lived and are living in the American South. Both black and white writers are represented and all share, and are divided by, a common heritage of racism, gender bias, and social stratification. Drawing on letters, journal entries, essays, poems, and fictional pieces, the compilers trace the evolution of the Southern feminine point of view from the early 18th century to the late 20th century. The first writer featured, Eliza Lucas Pinckney, was born in 1772, and, the last, Leigh Allison Wilson, in 1959. Because of its richness and accessibility, the anthology will probably become a standard text in college courses in American Southern literature and women's studies, making it essential for all academic libraries and enthusiastically recommended for all others. Downhome contains 21 previously published short stories by contemporary Southern female writers. Eight of the writers are included in the Weaks-Perry anthologyKatherine Anne Porter, Zora Neale Hurston, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Doris Betts, Bobbie Ann Mason, Alice Walker, and Ellen Gilchristbut only one selection, Bobbie Ann Mason's "Shiloh," appears in both books. Brief paragraphs at the end of the book identify the authors, though editor Mee (fiction, NYU) strains to make her points about a "shared legacy" and "distinctive language." The stories trace the life cycle from "Growing Up" to "The Pleasures and Miseries of Marriage" to "Passing On." Although this is a good group of stories, as a whole the collection is not unique and not as rigorously researched as Southern Women's Writing. Recommended for popular literature collections in libraries lacking the writers covered.Carol A. McAllister, Coll. of William and Mary Lib., Williamsburg, Va.
School Library Journal
YA-A powerful collection of short stories by Southern female writers, from Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston to Ellen Gilchrist and Dorothy Allison. Written in a time period spanning several decades, the selections reflect the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of Southern life. They also tap into the darker side of Southern life. They deal with the superficial roles women are expected to play as they hide their problems behind social niceties; the racial tensions of blacks and whites co-existing in a society of inequities and accepted myths; the nuances of the ``caste system'' that dominate social interactions; and the taboos and inhibitions associated with sexual behaviors. The female characters engage in courtships, marry, and experience happiness or despair in their relationships. They find solace or bondage in their religion, and finally deal with death. The unifying theme, however, is the sense of place, of belonging to something larger than self, of ``downhome.'' Mee prefaces each of these thematic sections with an analysis of its central theme and brief comments on the stories found in the section, resulting in a somewhat academic tone.-Glenda Decker, Lee High School, Springfield, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156001212
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/13/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 468,967
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Isis 13
Economics 22
Sarah 33
The Star in the Valley 65
The Ugliest Pilgrim 86
Music 111
The Wide Net 145
After Moore 171
White Rat 204
Dare's Gift 221
First Dark 258
Shiloh 279
Good Country People 304
Everyday Use 327
Yellow Ribbons 337
Tongues of Fire 362
Gospel Song 405
A New Life 438
The Grave 461
And with a Vengeance 468
The Third of July 481
About the Authors 493
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 18, 2012

    absolutely loved the stories in this book!

    absolutely loved the stories in this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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