“Letters from Paris,” by Juliet Blackwell

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Juliet Blackwell’s Letters from Paris is solid reading entertainment with a lovable protagonist, Claire Broussard, whose small-town Louisiana beginnings lead to tragedy. Blackwell builds suspense without sacrificing seriousness or believability, two common victims of the mystery genre. Perhaps that’s the key to Blackwell’s novel – everything about it is “just right.” […]

Laughlin: Romanticist Extraordinaire, A Memoir

By Louis Gallo Laughlin, Ghosts Along the Mississippi: An essay in the poetic interpretation of Louisiana’s plantation archictecture—One hundred photographs by the author (Bonanza Books, NY—1961) —Clarence John Laughlin, Aperture Monograph (1973) I. I’ve never believed that literature is an ideal conduit for surrealism other than in spurts such as the “Nighttown” episode in Joyce’s […]

“My Sunshine Away,” by M.O. Walsh

Reviewed by Michael Pitts In his debut novel, M.O. Walsh offers an exceptional mixture of adolescent exploration, intrigue, and violence. Weaving between the years of childhood, high school, and adulthood, the text is an exemplary addition to the Bildungsroman tradition with its central focus being the development of a young boy. This narrator must endure […]

June Read of the Month: “The Little Way of Ruthie Leming,” by Rod Dreher

Reviewed by Philip K. Jason This soulful biography has the makings of an American classic. It has attributes that are likely to put it on all kinds of reading lists: family dynamics, coping with illness, grieving, religious questioning, small town life, and regional culture to name a handful. Its subtitle pushes some of these buttons: […]

“Creole Son,” by Michael Llewellyn

Reviewed by Mollie Waters The challenge of writing historical fiction is finding the balance between factual events and the fictional story the author tries to weave into that reality. In his work Creole Son: A Novel of Degas in New Orleans, Michael Llewellyn finds that balance by crafting a tale that is rich in both […]

“Letter in a Woodpile,” by Ed Cullen

Reviewed by Julie Cantrell Unlike many literary sites that review only the books being marketed heavily each publishing season, the Southern Literary Review is always on the prowl for stories that slip through the cracks. We are in constant search for the author who hasn’t yet been “discovered” and the manuscript that has settled at […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews John Shelton Reed

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, John.  I know that readers of the Southern Literary Review are excited to hear from you. Dixie Bohemia began, your Introduction explains, with the substance of the Fleming Lectures you delivered at Louisiana State University in April 2011.  Here we are just a year and a […]

October Read of the Month: Dixie Bohemia, by John Shelton Reed

Reviewed by Allen Mendenhall John Shelton Reed’s Dixie Bohemia is difficult to classify. It’s easier to say what it isn’t than to say what it is. It isn’t biography.  It isn’t documentary.  It isn’t quite history, although it does organize and present information about a distinct class of past individuals interacting and sometimes living together […]