Allen Mendenhall Interviews Katherine Clark, Author of The Harvard Bride and The Ex-Suicide

AM:  I’m only now reading The Harvard Bride, which I somehow missed upon its release, and now we’re on the verge of the publication of The Ex-Suicide.  I’d like to talk to you about both books. KC: Don’t forget The Headmaster’s Darlings and All the Governor’s Men, the first two novels in the Mountain Brook […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Bren McClain, Author of “One Good Mama Bone”

AM:  Thanks for the interview, Bren.  Before we talk about your new book, One Good Mama Bone, I’d like to mention something we have in common: We both studied English at Furman University.  Who were your professors there? BM:  Dr. Stanley Crowe was my adviser.  Also Dr. Pate, Gil Allen and Ann Sharp.  Loved them. […]

“One Good Mama Bone,” by Bren McClain

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl To begin: This is a book about a woman who talks to a cow and comes to believe she can learn some things from the cow, Big Mama Red, whose child is a steer named Lucky. The woman is Sarah Creamer and the novel is set in the 1950s in […]

“The Final Days of Great American Shopping,” by Gilbert Allen

Reviewed by Allen Mendenhall With so many journals and genres available today, the dependable reviewer has a duty to warn off the noble optimists and advise the faint-hearted when a book is not for them.  Obligation thus requires that I caution readers:  Gilbert Allen’s The Final Days of Great American Shopping, a collection of short […]

“The Time the Waters Rose,” by Paul Ruffin

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The Time the Waters Rose is a collection of eight short stories by the late Paul Ruffin.  One of the eight is less a short story and more an excerpt from his 2002 novel, Pompeii Man. The collection opens with a “Preface,” part biography and part apology or defense.  Ruffin […]

“All the Governor’s Men,” by Katherine Clark

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl I title this review “The Overly-Stuffed Novel,” a designation that calls attention to Willa Cather’s credo stated with some punchy forcefulness in her essay “The Novel Demeuble.”  The point is simple enough: Aesthetically, the novel does not merely catalog the furniture of life, physical things, processes, sensations, thoughts.  She analogizes […]

“The Stone Necklace,” by Carla Damron

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl In my years as a college professor at a small, private liberal arts college, administration, faculty, and staff were in loco parentis; it was understood that the professor took on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. It’s a curious status, however, with interesting premises both psychological and […]

“Jacob Jump,” by Eric Morris

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Pat Conroy prefaces Eric Morris’s first novel by placing him in a pantheon of southern writers whose theme is darkness: Cormac McCarthy, Ron Rush, and Flannery O’Connor. One could be “tripped up” by arguing such. It’s equally likely that Morris’s first novel could be placed in a larger context: any […]