Friday, October 30, 2009
Sams, Ferrol. A Great Southern Author--Don't Miss Him!
Yes, I know, I am a Southerner, born and bred, but I’m still entitled to my opinion: The American South is full of charm and, well, quintessential “Americanism.” I love, love it. If I had not been born here, I’d choose to be here. Enough about that…let’s talk about Southern literature which springs from this Southern character.
When you think of Southern lit, you might think of some greats: William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams (New Orleans), Eudora Welty, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Mark Twain…need I go on? What can I say? The South just spins good yarns.
But one Southern great who may have escaped your attention is Ferrol Sams, a truly-gifted physician-turned-writer from Georgia. His trilogy which chronicles the childhood-through-adulthood of Porter Osborne, Jr. (“Sambo”) is one of my favorites. Sams draws heavily on his own childhood and family background in Georgia. So many of his stories evoke my own memories of my Uncles “Chet” and “Mac” sitting around at family dinners, telling some of the same type stories.
Sambo’s family stories will make you turn page-after-page and draw you into this depression-era rural Georgia life. I promise you that these books will not disappoint; instead, they will, by turns, make you laugh out loud or grow quiet with thought. They are some of my favorites.
If you can, start this reading with Run With the Horsemen. It is the first in Sam’s trilogy, and introduces you to Sambo and his family. Follow with The Whisper of the River, which takes you with Sambo into college. Finally, you won’t want to stop until you have read When All the World Was Young, in which Sambo struggles through medical school and into the travails of World War II.
If you’re looking for wonderful writing, an entrapment of story, and a look into American “Southernism,” I can’t think of any books which top these! They are great literature and great “reads.” C