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Double Vision

A Novel

A shotgun marriage of fact and fiction by one of the most highly regarded writers and teachers of our time.
 

A writer named George Garrett, suffering from double vision as a result of a neurological disorder, is asked to review a recent, first biography of the late Peter Taylor, a renowned writer who has been his long-time friend and neighbor in Charlottesville. Reflecting on their relationship, Garrett conceives of a character—not unlike himself—a writer in his early 70s, ill and suffering from double vision, named Frank Toomer. He gives Toomer a neighbor, a distinguished short story writer named Aubrey Carver.
 

As the real George Garrett and Peter Taylor are replaced by two very different and imaginary writers, the story becomes a wise and insightful exploration of American literary life, the art of biography, the comical rivalries among writers and academics, notions of success, and the knotty relationship of art to life, fact to fiction, and life to death. Double Vision is a witty tour de force and an elegy for a gifted generation of writers.
 


 

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The Remembered Gate

Memoirs By Alabama Writers

This collection of reflective essays–all exploring themes of artistic self-discovery and regional awareness–showcases 19 nationally known writers who have roots in Alabama.

In The Remembered Gate, nationally prominent fiction writers, essayists, and poets recall how their formative years in Alabama shaped them as people and as writers. The essays range in tone from the pained and sorrowful to the wistful and playful, in class from the privileged to the poverty-stricken, in geography from the rural to the urban, and in time from the first years of the 20th century to the height of the Civil Rights era and beyond.
In all the essays we see how the individual artists came to understand something central about themselves and their art from a changing Alabama landscape. Whether from the perspective of C. Eric Lincoln, beaten for his presumption as a young black man asking for pay for his labors, or of Judith Hillman Paterson, floundering in her unresolved relationship with her troubled family, these personal renderings are intensely realized visions of a writer's sense of being a writer and a human being. Robert Inman tells of exploring his grandmother's attic, and how the artifacts he found there fired his literary imagination. William Cobb profiles the lasting influence of the town bully, the diabolical Cletus Hickey. And in "Growing up in Alabama: A Meal in Four Courses, Beginning with Dessert," Charles Gaines chronicles his upbringing through the metaphor of southern cooking.



What emerges overall is a complex, richly textured portrait of men and women struggling with, and within, Alabama's economic and cultural evolution to become major voices of our time.



 

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Tongues of Flame

These beautifully crafted stories depict the changing relationships between black and white southerners, the impact of the civil rights movement, and the emergence of the New South.

Mary Ward Brown is a storyteller in the tradition of such powerful 20th-century writers as William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Flannery O'Connor, and Eudora Welty-writers who have explored and dramatized the tension between the inherited social structure of the South and its contemporary dissolution. With Tongues of Flame, her first collection of short stories, Brown bares the awkward, sometimes hopeful, and often tragic suffering of people caught in changing times within a timeless setting.

Here we meet such memorable characters as a dying black woman who seeks the advice of a now-alcoholic white doctor whom she knew in better years; a young woman, jilted at the altar, driven crazy by an illuminated cross erected by the church opposite her house; and a 95-year-old woman buying a tombstone for her long-deceased husband only to discover that he had been adulterous throughout their marriage. Brown constructs her characters in a disarmingly plain style while breathing life into them with compassion and honesty as they confront the large moments of their lives.

First published by E. P. Dutton in 1986 to immediate critical acclaim, Tongues of Flame won the 1987 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award. The judges commended Brown for "seeing life whole, without prejudice, without sentimentality, without histrionics. Her voice may be quiet-sometimes she speaks in a whisper-but her words are, nevertheless, always forceful, clear, and ultimately lasting." With this new publication of Tongues of Flame and its inclusion in the University of Alabama Press's Deep South Books series, a whole new generation of readers may once more discover Mary Ward Brown's profound stories of pain, loss, and hope.

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