Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Erskine Caldwell...

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 04 Feb 2008

Another couple of extraordinary Caldwell stories are 'Savannah River Payday' and 'Saturday Afternoon'.

'The Bastard', a novella from 1929, is about an amoral loner and is as noir as anything by Appel or Goodis.

'Poor Fool', 1930, is a tale of a gullible down-and-out boxer who ends up in a house of horrors from which he is unable to leave. The character motivations are poor enough to make the book pretty weak when looked at with a critical eye, but the story is surreal and engaging enough and I suspect that the poor character motivations were deliberate, so I closed my critical eye and read on with the other one and found the whole thing grotesque and fascinating.

'Tobacco Road', 1932, is a stunner. It's the story of the Lester family, Georgian sharecroppers who live in grinding poverty. It's brutal, depraved, absurd, hilarious and heart-breaking. It's one of those books that make you want to read everything else the author's ever written. Did for me, anyway. Unfortunately, I haven't found another (yet) that lives up to TR. Although I've found something exceptional in each of them. For instance, three scenes from 'Journeyman' have stayed with me -- one might even be my favourite in all of fiction -- even though much of the book can be dismissed as lascivious nonsense.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark R. Harris" <> To: <> Sent: Monday, February 04, 2008 10:21 PM Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Erskine Caldwell...

> "Kneel to the Rising Sun" is a classic Caldwell story.
> On 2/4/08, jacquesdebierue <> wrote:

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