“This is not your mother’s Southern fiction.” – Candler Hunt, Olsson’s Books and Records
It’s your last chance to take advantage of this month’s set of Lucky 7 e-books, only $1.99 through August 31st. While there’s still time, let’s take a closer look at one of the selections – George Singleton’s Why Dogs Chase Cars, a collection of stories that capture both the hilarity and the beauty of the South.
These fourteen funny stories tell the tale of a beleaguered boyhood down home where the dogs still run loose. As a boy growing up in the tiny backwater town of Forty-Five, South Carolina (where everybody is pretty much one beer short of a six-pack), all Mendal Dawes wants is out.
It’s not just his hometown that’s hopeless. Mendal’s father is just as bad. Embarrassing his son to death nearly every day, Mr. Dawes is a parenting guide’s bad example. He buries stuff in the backyard—fake toxic barrels, imitation Burma Shave signs (BIRD ON A WIRE, BIRD ON A PERCH, FLY TOWARD HEAVEN, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH), yardstick collections. He calls Mendal “Fuzznuts” and makes him recite Marx and Durkheim daily and befriend a classmate rumored to have head lice.
Mendal Dawes is a boy itching to get out of town, to take the high road and leave the South and his dingbat dad far behind—just like those car-chasing dogs.
But bottom line, this funky, sometimes outrageous, and always very human tale is really about how Mendal discovers that neither he nor the dogs actually want to catch a ride, that the hand that has fed them has a lot more to offer. On the way to watching that light dawn, we also get to watch the Dawes’s precarious relationship with a place whose “gene pool [is] so shallow that it wouldn’t take a Dr. Scholl’s insert to keep one’s soles dry.”
To be consistently funny is a great gift, but to be funny and cynical and empathetic all at the same time is George Singleton’s special gift.
“Singleton creates a dead-on portrait of the way we carry our childhoods into adulthood and how, despite vows to leave small towns, we can end up back home, still running, like stray dogs hoping a passing car will stop and give us a ride somewhere else.” – Booklist