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eBook Porch Swing Stories download

by Rod Moulds

eBook Porch Swing Stories download ISBN: 0595125255
Author: Rod Moulds
Publisher: iUniverse (September 12, 2000)
Language: English
Pages: 200
ePub: 1516 kb
Fb2: 1863 kb
Rating: 4.5
Other formats: mbr lrf lrf txt
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Short Stories and Anthologies

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Porch Swing Stories book. Porch Swing Stories is a history of both a family and a community  . Details (if other): Cancel.

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Porch Swing Stories is a history of both a family and a community. Drawn from the reminiscences of J.T. McPherson's elderly aunts, these stories are set in Ringgold, Mississippi, a fictional town quickly fading into the past. Here are collected stories of melodrama, tragedy, romance, and even slapstick humor. Together they paint a picture of a South that never was, but should have been.
Comments: (4)
By the time I was being raised in the South, things had already changed, but in some ways just barely, from the way things were in PORCH SWING STORIES. Reading these very connected stories brought back many memories of people I had known as a child, people who were very much like Mr. Mould's relatives/characters.
If you are of a certain age and are either living in the South or from the South, this is a "must read". If you are not from or living in the South, you can also enjoy it. Just one thing ... please read it with an open mind. The people depicted in these stories are simple; and I am sure I'd be bored to death if I had to spend an afternoon with any of them. However, as characters in these stories, they are truly something special.
_Porch Swing Stories_ makes for wonderful reading. While the book appears at first glance to be a collection of short stories peopled with characters legendary in Southern fiction--sages, servants, saints, and spinsters all make their appearance, not to mention fools and hypocrites--we soon realize that all the main characters in each story are related to each other; in fact, often we see the same characters in different stories, sometimes at very different ages. For the history in this book isn't told from the beginning to the end. Rather, we're taken on a journey that constantly shifts from the present to the past and back again. As the journey proceeds, we come to learn more and more about these people: their fears, their weaknesses, but also their sense of humor and their triumphs. Moulds is a great storyteller, and the deeper social issues he touches on in the book remind me of that other great Southern writer, Flannery O'Connor. But where O'Connor is rather obsessive to show us the "big issues," Moulds lets the story take center stage; thus the larger lessons we learn are somehow more human and more vivid. You will remember _Porch Swing Stories_ for a long time to come.
If nostalgia is the fruitful reverie of a past whose text is a history of longing, R. A. Moulds's sensitive and quietly startling Southern scrapbook may very well be the happy result of such imaginings.The sketches of Porch Swing Stories--and I say sketches advisedly because the emphasis of Moulds's narratives is on character rather than plot--are not offering some uncharted utopia in the dust-covered and gone-by-the-wayside town of Ringgold, Mississippi, a community more often than not sans unity in matters of brotherly love, Methodism, and, well, equine equality (in short, in matters of civil rights, as our more prosaic historians would undoubtedly label it). Instead, seen through the eyes of T. J. McPherson, the reporter and editor of these news from somewhere (decidedly, concretely, somewhere), Ringgold gradually emerges as a circle of resplendent potential, a potential squandered like a ring of gold pawned before the nuptial.So lost is Ringgold and all that rings true in it that, on occasion, T. J. has to leave the swing on the porch and swing open instead the portal of the local cemetery in his attempts at bringing to light the unremembered out of which he fashions his memorials. And while far from morose or bitter, each miniature celebrates not so much the independent spirit--overrated, perhaps, in American life and fiction--but insists upon spiritual interdependence, upon the viability of communion, the bond between siblings, friends, and lovers, upon the elective affinities and nurtured alliances at odds with a larger, nominal community such as "Ringgold." Many hands join in Ringgold; some never dare; and some only furtively, encircled by spying eyes that permit no proud display of rings.It is fitting that a book so resilient in its belief in sheltering friendship and so alive with parlor poetry and song should be read out aloud to be shared and enjoyed with others; it defies the linear and chronological imposed upon the human experience by the historian and offers instead an intricate web, the lively circling and swirling of memory, encouraging a cross-referencing and back-tracking (as well as a leaping forward to notes to the stories), a collecting and recollecting it so amply rewards.Each reader will find particular favorites in Ringgold and award the star that has been taken from my rating of Moulds's wonderful history of longing to one of its denizens, to the formidable Sophronie, perhaps, facing the wreck of Amy Magill, to her gentle sister Eulalie giving up her hat at the drop of it, to the emboldened Ardis McCreery at the moment of his impassioned reception of Daniel Tan, or to the courageous Cassandra Thibodeaux singing before an audience stunned and stunted by racial hatred.While Porch Swing Stories abounds with enriching allusions to art, music, and literature, I could not but create my own bridges. Moulds's sketches are reminiscent of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford (1853), a collection of stories--comic, melodramatic, tragic--about everyday living and dying in a small town. And although American narratives like Willa Cather's My Antonia will also come to mind upon perusal of this volume, the mention of "Prince Albert Magill"--a young man so pretty that, as Eulalie has it, "some boys from over Pachuta would've just about married him if he'd a put on a dress"--suggests a fondness for Victoriana, especially the comic realism of the Cranfordian (or Barsetshire) variety. Sophronie, Eulalie (and their mysteriously exiled brother Jim) bear some resemblance to Gaskell's portrait of two elderly sisters, the formidable Deborah Jenkyns and the gentle Miss Matty, and their disappearing brother Peter (who, like Prince Albert, is argued to look pretty in a dress). Both books, albeit not novels, are intricately woven; their social commentary is offered joshingly rather than acrimoniously, and their outlook is cheerful rather than grim, even in the face of tragedy. Such books make pleasant companions. It is hoped that R. A. Moulds's Porch Swing Stories will find and keep the company of appreciative listeners that Cranford has been enjoying for a century and a half now.
I had the pleasure of reading this collection of wonderful stories long before the advent of the internet being an option for upcoming artists and writers. I am not an American, but have always had a great appetite for learning the ways of American culture, from coast to coast. In this book, so appropriately named, one can feel - indeed taste - what it would have been like (or is like) to have lived in the South. The characters, the dialogue, the situations, all conjure an image of a people whose existence, however humble, are alive with tradition and a common sense of belonging. By the end of the collection, the reader truly acquires a sense of what it means to be "from the South." The prose, exquisite in its simplicity and involving dialogue, along with the intricate stories designed around simple situations, makes for perfect reading under the shade of a front porch, while sipping lemonade and swinging on the porch swing. Bravo.