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“Nothin’ Could Be Finah Than to Be in Carolina”

Memory’s Keep

by James Everett Kibler

Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Co.;
221 pp., $22.00

A first-rate scholar is as rare as, or rarer than, a first-rate creative writer.  Believe me, having hung out with professors for 45 years, I know whereof I speak.  When a first-rate scholar is also a creative artist of merit, you have a national treasure, a real live example of what has become scarcer and scarcer—a man of letters.

James Kibler long ago showed his mettle as a literary scholar.  With his novel Memory’s Keep, he has five creative works to his credit: two novels, a book of stories, a book of poetry—Poems From Scorched Earth—and a beautiful historical memoir, Our Fathers’ Fields.  In choosing his literary territory, Kibler has followed Sherwood Anderson’s providential advice to Faulkner: Concentrate on your own little postage stamp of land.  Kibler’s is in Upcountry South Carolina (Upcountry being a tradition-laden three-centuries-old term which now, unfortunately, our foreign-owned local media have replaced with the Upstate.)

Daringly, in Memory’s Keep, the author has taken up the human dimension of a major but little-known demographic fact of our time—the return of numerous black Americans, including...

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