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Mississippi Books and Writers

July 2002

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Faulkner and Postmodernism

Edited by John N. Duvall and Ann J. Abadie

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $45.00, ISBN: 1578064597; Paperback, ISBN: 1578064600)

Publication date: July 2002

Description from the publisher:

With essays by John Barth, Philip Cohen, John N. Duvall, Doreen Fowler, Ihab Hassan, Molly Hite, Martin Kreiswirth, Cheryl Lester, Terrell L. Tebbetts, Joseph R. Urgo, and Philip Weinstein.

Since the 1960s, William Faulkner, Mississippi’s most famous author, has been recognized as a central figure of international modernism. But might Faulkner’s fiction be understood in relation to Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow as well as James Joyces Ulysses?

In eleven essays from the 1999 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, held at the University of Mississippi, Faulkner and Postmodernism examines William Faulkner and his fiction in light of postmodern literature, culture, and theory. The volume explores the variety of ways Faulkner’s art can be used to measure similarities and differences between modernism and postmodernism.

Essays in the collection fall into three categories: those that use Faulkner’s novels as a way to mark a period distinction between modernism and postmodernism, those that see postmodern tendencies in Faulkner’s fiction, and those that read Faulkner through the lens of postmodern theory’s contemporary legacy, the field of cultural studies.

In order to make their particular arguments, essays in the collection compare Faulkner to more contemporary novelists such as Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Walker Percy, Richard Ford, Toni Morrison, and Kathy Acker. But not all of the comparisons are to high culture artists, since even Elvis Presley becomes Faulkner’s foil in one of the essays.

A variety of theoretical perspectives frame the work in this volume, from Fredric Jameson’s pessimistic sense of postmodernism’s possibilities to Linda Hutcheon’s conviction that cultural critique can continue in postmodernism through innovative new forms such as metafiction. Despite the different theoretical premises and distinct conclusions of the individual authors of these essays, Faulkner and Postmodernism proves once again that in the key debates surrounding twentieth-century fiction, Faulkner is a crucial figure.

John N. Duvall, an associate professor of English at Purdue University, is the editor of Modern Fiction Studies.

Ann J. Abadie is associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

Tyrus: An American LegendTyrus: An American Legend

By Patrick Creevy

Forge (Hardcover, $25.95.00, ISBN: 0765300141)

Publication date: July 2002

Description:

Tyrus Raymond Cobb. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in a nearly unanimous vote. Highest lifetime batting average in baseball. Highest lifetime number of runs scored. Second highest lifetime number of hits. The run of statistics goes on, making it clear that Ty Cobb was baseball’s greatest overall player.

But before Ty Cobb was a legend, he was a young man trying to escape from his famous father’s lengthy shadow. William H. Cobb, former state senator, renowned educator, champion of the Southern cause in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a gentleman and a scholar. Tyrus Raymond Cobb, his oldest son, was to carry on the proud Cobb family traditions, as explained by Ty Cobb: “The honorable and honest Cobb blood … never will be subjected. It bows to no wrong nor to any man …. The Cobbs have their ideals, and God help anyone who strives to bend a Cobb away from such.”

Unfortunately for W.H., Ty’s greatest desire was to play baseball—a trivial game that would bring him into contact with low people. Yet the father could not deny that the son’s passion for his chosen profession burned hot, reflecting the very strength of will that was the hallmark of Cobb men. After much struggle, W.H. blessed his son and encouraged him to continue playing ball.

The reconciliation nearly came too late, for soon after, W. H. Cobb was shot twice at close range—murdered—by his wife of more than twenty years. Ty was nineteen years old. The grief-stricken boy burned with rage as rumors circulated through the small Georgia town—rumors that his mother had been having an affair and that his father had caught her in the act.

With his father newly buried and his mother awaiting trial, Ty Cobb was summoned to Detroit to play for the Tigers. Tyrus is a fictional account of this time in young Cobb’s life—that pivotal half-season when Ty had to prove his value on the field or forever lose any chance of playing professional ball. Subjected to a rookie hazing that would have destroyed a lesser man, Cobb carried his battle with his teammates from the clubhouse onto the field and emerged bloodied but unbowed. The sights and sounds of cut throat baseball are brilliantly evoked—a type of baseball that Cobb said was “about as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch.”

This thoroughly researched novel is a deft psychological portrait of a young man at a time of turmoil and transition. Patrick Creevy, whose earlier novel was praised as “intense [and full of] poetic yearning and literary allusion” (Kirkus Reviews), takes a unique literary look at the man dubbed “the Meanest Man in Baseball” as he left boyhood behind and began the baseball journey that made him a legend.

Sleep No MoreSleep No More

By Greg Iles

Putnam (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0399148817)

Publication date: July 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Iles has written some solid, beautifully constructed thrillers (24 Hours; Dead Sleep), so when his latest seems for page after page to have no logical explanation for its central mystery, we hold on, bide our time and wait for the moment of revelation that will make everything fall into place.

Unfortunately, that moment never comes. The puzzle of how a woman who has been dead for 10 years can suddenly appear in the body of another woman turns out not to be a mystery at all. It’s a whole other genre, horror or fantasy or science fiction. Iles fans will certainly enjoy the way he once again brings to piquant life his home turf Natchez and the Mississippi Delta and creates a character with an actual job. John Waters is a petroleum geologist, and the details of his work are carefully rendered. He’s a happily married man of 41 with a bright eight-year-old daughter, although his sex life has all but disappeared in the wake of several disastrous pregnancies. So he’s ready to be pushed over the edge by the sudden appearance of Eve Sumner, a 32-year-old real estate agent who seems to know every intimate detail of Waters’ youthful affair with the late Mallory Candler a mentally fragile beauty queen who was subsequently raped and murdered in New Orleans.

The game gets really serious when Eve is also murdered. Possibilities abound: John’s weak and financially reckless partner might be behind the whole thing, and even Waters’ embittered wife could be a suspect. Readers will probably stick around to see how Iles gets himself off the hook, but it’s hard to imagine many of them coming away completely satisfied. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Description from Booklist:

It takes an exceptional writer to make a story about soul transfer believable. Iles, who has wowed critics with his six previous thrillers, not only makes the incredible seem logical but also engages the reader completely in the hopes and doubts of his protagonist, who finds his life coming apart because of a summons from the dead. Petroleum geologist John Waters of Natchez, Mississippi, has painstakingly reconstructed his life after an affair with a beautiful but possessive woman who tried to kill him and nearly destroyed his spirit. This woman was killed in New Orleans 10 years ago. At a Mardi Gras party, a woman appears who sounds just like Waters’ long-ago love. And she knows everything about their past. Iles is masterful at sustaining psychological suspense, as Waters is drawn into an affair with the woman who claims to be his lost love, again jeopardizing his life. An irresistible page-turner. —Connie Fletcher. Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Dead Sleep Dead Sleep

A Novel by Greg Iles

Signet (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0451206525)

Publication date: July 2002

Description:

With five novels, Greg Iles has proven himself one of the most talented and versatile thriller writers at work today. Critics hailed 24 Hours as “diabolical” (People), “ingenious” (London Times), “masterfully written” (New Orleans Times-Picayune), and “brilliantly plotted bone-chilling suspense” (Publishers Weekly). In Dead Sleep, Iles gives us his most intricate and emotionally resonant story ever.

Jordan Glass, a photojournalist on a well-earned vacation, wanders into a Hong Kong art museum and is puzzled to find fellow patrons eyeing her with curiosity. Minutes later, she stumbles upon a gallery containing a one-artist exhibition called “The Sleeping Women,” a mysterious series of paintings that has caused a sensation in the world of modern art. Collectors have come to believe that the canvases depict female nudes not in sleep but in death, and they command millions at auction. When Jordan approaches the last work in the series, she freezes. The face in the painting seems to be her own.

This unsettling event hurls her back into a nightmare she has fought desperately to put behind her—for, in fact, the face in the painting belongs not to Jordan but to her twin sister, murdered one year ago. At the urging of the FBI, Jordan becomes both hunter and hunted in a duel with the anonymous artist, a gifted murderer who knows the secret history of Jordan’s family, and truths that even she has never had the courage to face.



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