Proper Books

Way back in prehistory—1991, or thereabouts—a promising Alabaman author started to register on readers’ radars, thanks to lambent reviews from Northern litterateurs surprised to discover that there was at least one Southron who could not only write, but write as though an amphetamined-up James Joyce was simultaneously charioteering Jonathan Swift, Flannery O’Connor, and John Kennedy Toole.

Lee, Tito Perdue’s story of the deeply misanthropic Lee Pefley’s flailing progress through flaccid late-modern America, execrating and excreting as he lashes and limps, displayed “magically evocative descriptive powers, pungent wit and [an] iconoclastic point of view,” marveled Publishers Weekly.  Its author, the New York Press opined of a subsequent book, “should certainly be considered among the most important American writers of the early 21st century.”  Even the New York Times Book Review noted that there was a “vitriolic and hallucinatory” stranger in town.  Educated eyes swiveled South, breaths were inhaled, another Yellowhammer breakthrough (the new Harper Lee?) into the East Coast big time was eagerly expected . . .

And then something happened—or, rather, did not happen.  The author kept producing equally dashing novels about Lee at different stages of life, pre-life, and afterlife. ...

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