Sunday, May 23, 2010

Southern Gothic Today

If Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O'Connor could move through time and have a despair baby, its short stories might sound like those of William Gay. Here's a small sample of his work:

Meecham glanced toward the house. The woman was standing in the doorway watching him as if she'd learn his intentions. He looked away and heard the screen door fall to. The day was waning. Beyond the farmhouse, light was fleeing westward and bullbats winged slant-wise through the trees as if they'd harry the dusk. When a whippoorwill called, an emotion somewhere between exaltation and pain rose in him, then twisted sharp as a knife. It was as if all his days had honed down to this lone whippoorwill calling to him out of the twilight.

He sat for a time just taking all this in. Whippoorwills had been in short supply in the nursing home, and it was a blessing not to smell Lysol. Here he could smell the trees still holding the day's heat and the evocative scent of honeysuckle and the cool citrusy odor of pine needles. "Well, I've lived in tenant houses before," he told himself, and he rose and went in.
This is from "I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down," which has been adapted to a film, That Evening Sun, that looks very much worth the time.

No comments: