“Key West—A Lush and Magical place for Cozy Mysteries,” by Claire Hamner Matturro

Review essay by Claire Hamner Matturro  Key West. Ah, just read the words in a mystery novel and a certain whirl and whoosh of coconut-scented, warm, moist air seems to fly off the pages. From the lush tropical landscape and the complex history to the raucous party atmosphere, from the old-world elegance of the Hemingway […]

Gnostic Vibes: Revisiting Walker Percy’s “Love in the Ruins” (Part I)

Essay by Louis Gallo All Percy quotations from Walker Percy, Love In The Ruins:  The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1971), first edition/first printing. The protagonist of Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins, the “Bad Catholic” of the novel’s subtitle, is a […]

“Rear View,” An Essay by Louis Gallo

Essay by Louis Gallo A history with scandalous cameo personalities* While away in grad school I sent weekly book reviews to Vieux Carre Courier, an alternative, low-budget newspaper owned by lawyer Jim Derbes and his wife, Ginny.  Jim was an old friend from my early teen years.  We had met, weirdly enough, over the forty […]

“Hints of Impermanence: Ghosts and Orphans in Gail Godwin’s Grief Cottage,” by Kerstin W. Shands

Essay by Kerstin W. Shands Gail Godwin’s new novel Grief Cottage (2017) is set in coastal South Carolina, an area rich in history, legend, and tradition. Evoking a real place and a real environment, Pawleys Island and the Isle of Palms, this novel introduces us to Grief Cottage, a profoundly charged site, a metaphorical rendezvous […]

“Quail Hunting at Little Hobcaw as Inspiration for Robert Ruark’s ‘The Old Man and the Boy,'” by Richard Rankin

Essay by Richard Rankin  Among Robert Ruark’s (1915-1965) complete body of work as a prolific, high-profile newspaper and magazine journalist and bestselling novelist, perhaps his most enduring literary accomplishments are his two sporting classics, The Old Man and the Boy (1957) and The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older (1961). Created from a series of highly […]

“Performing Atonement: Regret, Responsibility, and Redemption in Gail Godwin’s ‘Flora,'” by Kerstin W. Shands

Essay by Kerstin W. Shands There is no person so severely punished, as those who subject themselves to the whip of their own remorse. (Seneca) There are things we can’t undo, but perhaps there is a kind of constructive remorse that could transform regrettable acts into something of service to life.  (Godwin 1)   Wistfully […]

“Following Truman Capote on the Island of Ischia, Italy,” by Susan Van Allen

Essay by Susan Van Allen  I’m standing on a balcony overlooking the port of Forio, on the island of Ischia, floating in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Naples. Sounds fancy, but it’s far from it. The port is fronted by a parking lot of taxis and Vespas, smooching teenagers, signoras strolling by with bags of […]

The Tate of Our Souls: The Lost Cause of the Southern Agrarians

  Essay by James McWilliams Few readers, even the well-read, know much about Allen Tate. Those who do know the arcane American poet—usually professors who teach “southern literature”—would likely not label him a humanitarian. Cerebral, distant, combative, self-obsessed—yes—but not a social reformer in any sense of the term. And yet (a million caveats notwithstanding) there […]