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Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South (Paperback)
Title: Long Time Leaving
Having been a longtime fan of Roy's columns in the Oxford American, I'm really pleased to see them collected here. His sly & wise essays on food (chicken & things tasting like chicken), music (Ray Charles, Memphis Minnie, the Bozzies), favorite writers & this country's cultures seen through South/North bifocals are great fun to savor.
I got downright helpless with laughter while reading some of the wackier pieces (see "The Best of Gaynelle").
As a master of the personal essay, his free-ranging speculation always delights & informs--who knew 'motion upholstery' even existed?--& his word-play is phenomenal. There is verse both political & song-lyrical (lots of it) here, as well as appreciations of writers we should know better; he got me to read finally my copy of Portis's Dog of the South. Roy's audio version of Long Time Leaving is a tasty performance too. I highly recommend that you sample it all.— From Mark's Past Picks
In this acerbic, eminently quotable book, humorist Roy Blount Jr. focuses on his own dueling loyalties across the great American divide. Scholarly, raunchy, biting, and affable, Blount takes on topics ranging from chicken fingers and yellow dog Democrats to Elvis's toes while sharing some experiences of his own: chatting with Ray Charles, meeting an Okefenokee alligator, imagining Faulkner's tennis game, and being swept up, sort of, in the filming of Nashville. His yarns, analyses, and flights of fancy transcend all standard shades of Red, Blue, and in between.
Blount's sidesplitting, irreverent musings may not end our tacit Civil War at long last, but they do clarify, or aptly complicate, divisive delusions on both sides of the long-standing national rift. Long Time Leaving is a comic ode to American variety and a droll assault on complacency both North and South from one of the most definitive and esteemed humorists of our time.