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.
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.)