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Rough South, Rural SouthRegion and Class in Recent Southern Literature$
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Jean W. Cash and Keith Perry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802330

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802330.001.0001

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A World Almost Rotten: The Fiction of William Gay1

A World Almost Rotten: The Fiction of William Gay1

(p.70) A World Almost Rotten: The Fiction of William Gay1
Rough South, Rural South

William Giraldi

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses the fiction of William Gay, one of American literature's most authentic chroniclers of life in the Rough South. Gay died at his home in Hohenwald, Tennessee, on February 23, 2012, at the age of seventy. His books were crafted from darkness: The Long Home (1999), Provinces of Night (2000), I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down (2002), and Twilight (2006). Along with Barry Hannah, Cormac McCarthy, and Harry Crews, Gay wrote about the lives of the underclass with both understanding and sincerity. Many important southern writers who came before—Peter Taylor, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, Walker Percy—seem timid in comparison to Gay and his nightmarish depictions. Known for his unflinching portrayals of human cruelty in his fiction, Gay was in life a mild and dignified man.

Keywords:   fiction, William Gay, Rough South, darkness, The Long Home, Provinces of Night, Twilight, underclass, southern writers

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