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Seven Southern Tales Plus One
Seven Southern Tales Plus One
by Dianne Lipscomb


 
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Createspace (pub: February 24, 2012)

Seven Southern Tales Plus One, a collection of short stories born from Mississippi memories and imagination, span race, class, and time. These stories pulsate with Southern life sprinkled by the hopes, fears, assertions, and misconceptions that rule the characters’ lives.

In "Through the Mist," a young man faces life and pain after his father’s disappearance by discovering a gift, a promise his father had given him, when he enters a painting of a mallard in a stamp contest. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" chronicles the relationship of a young white girl to her black maid in 1964 Mississippi, and how racism leads them into peril when a black woman appears at the door of the white peoples’ church one Sunday morning. "Gator Tale" recounts a couple’s journey as their marriage is set on a new course by the appearance, and disappearance, of a vicious alligator. In "Dreamtravel," ancient spiritual roots from Africa drag a young woman back to the days of slavery from which family wisdom, remembered and respected, is the only avenue of escape. "Prohibition Mississippi" sets the stage for Mardi Gras Ball with the governor and society’s elite celebrating, unaware they are on the brink of social change. Yet change does come. "De-evolution" unfolds in a town bracing for a class four hurricane that blows more than houses apart. Friends huddle together for safety, but the greatest threat is not the hurricane. It is someone emboldened by the chaos and driven by hatred. Help does come but from an unexpected source. "The Devil Beats His Wife," an old Southern saying for erratic summer weather when it rains and the sun shines simultaneously, parallels an event in town when a new comer, an insurance salesman, woos polite society but threatens the only obstacle in his way. He soon discovers a basketball challenge in the backyard is more than meets the eye. "Plus One," the culminating story in the collection of tales, follows an old black man as he trudges a red dirt path into the white part of town to help a young girl. His short journey forever changes his life.

All the characters of these tales have a singular story but are bound by humor, hypocrisy, death, duty, and conviction, with some old Southern gris-gris thrown in for good measure. If you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you will resonate with Seven Southern Tales Plus One as both authors were born in Jackson, Mississippi, and touch on some similar themes.

DIANNE LIPSCOMB grew up riding horses at Stockett’s Stables run by Kathryn Stockett’s grandfather. Dianne also lived around the corner from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty, ever an inspiration of creativity and grace.

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