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A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape

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There is a palpable connection to the landscapes of Mississippi displayed in the work of the state’s many lauded writers. This connection to the land runs deep—across onerous lines of class, gender and race—spanning generations of authors birthed in the Magnolia State. It’s difficult to read Faulkner, Welty, Wright, and Ward and not come away with the very particular sense There is a palpable connection to the landscapes of Mississippi displayed in the work of the state’s many lauded writers. This connection to the land runs deep—across onerous lines of class, gender and race—spanning generations of authors birthed in the Magnolia State. It’s difficult to read Faulkner, Welty, Wright, and Ward and not come away with the very particular sense of place that the state and the greater American South represents in their work. You can feel the humidity and smell the kudzu.  In The Literary Landscape of Mississippi, W. Ralph Eubanks takes readers on a complete tour of the natural places that have inspired Mississippi authors. Eubanks is a native Mississippian who has spent time in all of the state’s 82 counties, and he knows its writers better than most anyone. He is also an accomplished author in his own right, bringing a clear-eyed and expertly nuanced perspective to the content. Far from rose-tinted glasses, Eubanks will take readers through the lush and varied Mississippi landscapes that often hide a complicated, and at times bloody, history. This landscape, and this history, has informed the work of a diverse list of America’s most treasured authors, and the state’s literary legacy continues today.


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There is a palpable connection to the landscapes of Mississippi displayed in the work of the state’s many lauded writers. This connection to the land runs deep—across onerous lines of class, gender and race—spanning generations of authors birthed in the Magnolia State. It’s difficult to read Faulkner, Welty, Wright, and Ward and not come away with the very particular sense There is a palpable connection to the landscapes of Mississippi displayed in the work of the state’s many lauded writers. This connection to the land runs deep—across onerous lines of class, gender and race—spanning generations of authors birthed in the Magnolia State. It’s difficult to read Faulkner, Welty, Wright, and Ward and not come away with the very particular sense of place that the state and the greater American South represents in their work. You can feel the humidity and smell the kudzu.  In The Literary Landscape of Mississippi, W. Ralph Eubanks takes readers on a complete tour of the natural places that have inspired Mississippi authors. Eubanks is a native Mississippian who has spent time in all of the state’s 82 counties, and he knows its writers better than most anyone. He is also an accomplished author in his own right, bringing a clear-eyed and expertly nuanced perspective to the content. Far from rose-tinted glasses, Eubanks will take readers through the lush and varied Mississippi landscapes that often hide a complicated, and at times bloody, history. This landscape, and this history, has informed the work of a diverse list of America’s most treasured authors, and the state’s literary legacy continues today.

30 review for A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Best advice for this one....keep a pencil and paper close by. You will want to make a list of these authors that are mentioned. Readers are certainly blessed with some fabulous Southern literature out of Mississippi.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Dean

    This outstanding literary road trip through my home state offers a primer on the people, the land, and the literary history of Mississippi. Highly recommended!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Reyne Clark

    This is a thoroughly entertaining look at the rich and bittersweet culture of Mississippi through it's poetry and prose. Some of this country's greatest writers and literature have come from this State, and this book weaves its way through the different regions, their history, and all that it entails through the eyes and words of some very prolific writers. The imagery produced with the wonderful photographs from around the State only tend to strengthen the depth and lend credence to the words w This is a thoroughly entertaining look at the rich and bittersweet culture of Mississippi through it's poetry and prose. Some of this country's greatest writers and literature have come from this State, and this book weaves its way through the different regions, their history, and all that it entails through the eyes and words of some very prolific writers. The imagery produced with the wonderful photographs from around the State only tend to strengthen the depth and lend credence to the words written by Mr. Eubanks. A wonderful book! 5 Stars!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    As a native Mississippian, I was pleased to see my home state through the literary lens that I know so well. As the book breaks down the unique regions of the state, you learn about the depth of history, the richness of its setting, and the writers who saw Mississippi as beautiful, in spite of her scars. I grew up near the Gulf Coastal region and also spent time in other parts of the state as a child and learned more than I expected, specifically about the modern authors that call Mississippi hom As a native Mississippian, I was pleased to see my home state through the literary lens that I know so well. As the book breaks down the unique regions of the state, you learn about the depth of history, the richness of its setting, and the writers who saw Mississippi as beautiful, in spite of her scars. I grew up near the Gulf Coastal region and also spent time in other parts of the state as a child and learned more than I expected, specifically about the modern authors that call Mississippi home. If you want to fall in love with Mississippi, let this book be your love letter.

  5. 4 out of 5

    LoneStarWords Deb Coco

    Great conflict produces great art. A Place Like Mississippi A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape W. Ralph Eubanks • Calling all my Southern literature friends...I have a book new book for you. • You all know my adoration for Southern writing and this book is a must for anyone who treasures the special authors and works that the this part of the South spawned. Mississippi is the cradle of Southern literature and the birthplace of some of the most talented writers in our country. From Great conflict produces great art. A Place Like Mississippi A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape W. Ralph Eubanks • Calling all my Southern literature friends...I have a book new book for you. • You all know my adoration for Southern writing and this book is a must for anyone who treasures the special authors and works that the this part of the South spawned. Mississippi is the cradle of Southern literature and the birthplace of some of the most talented writers in our country. From William Faulkner to Jesmyn Ward, Eudora Welty to Greg Iles, I loved that Eubanks covered the old tradition and the new voices. This book helped me to understand WHY the writing that comes out of Mississippi has such a unique voice and why I fell in love with it. • The pages are overflowing with gorgeous photos of the Mississippi landscape: from the Gulf, to the Delta, to the town square in Oxford and the piney woods. I learned so much about the books and writing that I am drawn to, why it appeals to me and why it matters in the broad scope of American literature. • I know many of you shake your heads at my passion for Faulkner, but if you're a fan too, Eubanks chapters on his writing and his life and his home at Rowan Oak are so illuminating and Eubanks goes on to explain the literary renaissance of Oxford, MS. Oxford was one of the best Southern journey's we took after moving South and I can't wait to go back and visit some of the spots we missed in this this true Southern gem of a town. • OK, have I gushed enough? This is the finest literary tour I've ever taken. All the stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tom Walsh

    What a wonderful experience! I am a native of Queens, New York. I never expected or ever wanted to even visit Mississippi, but work brought me there over forty years ago and, in one sense I have never left. It is that kind of place! Eubanks speaks of Love and Hate, and Mississippi has a lot of both, but he has found a way to capture both feelings in this astounding book. By traveling the length and breadth of the state and seeing it through the eyes of its many gifted artists he perfectly conveys What a wonderful experience! I am a native of Queens, New York. I never expected or ever wanted to even visit Mississippi, but work brought me there over forty years ago and, in one sense I have never left. It is that kind of place! Eubanks speaks of Love and Hate, and Mississippi has a lot of both, but he has found a way to capture both feelings in this astounding book. By traveling the length and breadth of the state and seeing it through the eyes of its many gifted artists he perfectly conveys the ambiguity of sentiments that infect anyone from anywhere that spends time there. | have driven its back roads and highways for all those years, but reading “A Place Like Mississippi” taught me so much that I had never known. I am an avid reader and Music Lover, so I have long been mystified by the rise of so many fantastic writers and musicians from the soil of The Magnolia State. Even after reading this book, in one sitting by the way, I’m not sure that I can account for that miracle, but my appreciation for their sensitivity has grown so much. There’s just something about the land, its people, and the contradictions of their History that stirs the soul’s creative juices. Eubanks ties these artists’ work so closely to each of the regions he describes that it seems only logical that they would have produced the works they did. He composes a beautiful symphony of landscape and soundtrack that is wonderful to experience. I loved it. Five Stars!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: December 5, 2020 Publication date: January 5, 2021 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book fr Date reviewed/posted: December 5, 2020 Publication date: January 5, 2021 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is once again closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. There is a palpable connection to the landscapes of Mississippi displayed in the work of the state’s many lauded writers. This connection to the land runs deep—across onerous lines of class, gender, and race—and spans gen­erations of authors birthed in the Magnolia State. It’s difficult to read Faulkner, Welty, Wright, and Ward and not come away with the very particular sense of place that the state and the greater American South represent in their work. In A Place Like Mississippi, W. Ralph Eubanks takes readers on a visionary tour of the real and imagined landscapes that have inspired generations of authors. Eubanks is a native Mississippian and he knows its writ­ers and its complicated history well. In A Place Like Mis­sissippi, Eubanks reveals how a little state that rests alongside the banks of a great and mighty river has made so many significant contributions to American letters, carrying an outsized role in the national imagination. The answer lies in a landscape that pairs ordinariness with beauty, magic with madness, and mystery with magnificence. This is a beautiful, lyrical book that makes one want to take a road trip down the back roads and to find these places. The books that inspired this book are classics that represented the truth south and are worth reading and enjoying the Magnolia State with – read them, this book and gas up the car for a trip you will never forget. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🚗🌸🚗🌸🚗

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mike Courson

    Book 18 or 2021 (audiobook) Maybe you had to be there. I love writers and reading and I once traveled all the way through Mississippi albeit on Interstate. Further, I've enjoyed many books and movies and writers with Mississippi ties. But I just could not get into this one. (Honestly, I didn't quite finish it. Had a few "pages" to go when I left work Friday and can't be bothered to finish it before starting a new one Monday). Just coming off Caste, this was an interesting rebound featuring a lot m Book 18 or 2021 (audiobook) Maybe you had to be there. I love writers and reading and I once traveled all the way through Mississippi albeit on Interstate. Further, I've enjoyed many books and movies and writers with Mississippi ties. But I just could not get into this one. (Honestly, I didn't quite finish it. Had a few "pages" to go when I left work Friday and can't be bothered to finish it before starting a new one Monday). Just coming off Caste, this was an interesting rebound featuring a lot more Black culture. Frankly, that's why I don't like Mississippi. It makes sense that those who grew up and live there would have these immense feelings of hate, love, guilt, shame, remorse...all the things that make good literature. While I had never thought about it that way, Mr. Eubanks does a nice job of explaining it. I'm utterly fascinated with rivers and bridges and there's no greater in these United States than the Mississippi. Again, Mr. Eubanks explains how many writers use the Mississippi landscape as a character in their books. While a fascinating concept, it did not translate to the page for me. No doubt more great artists have emerged from Mississippi than my native Kansas but I'm not all in on the group as a whole. I enjoy Grisham sometimes as a writer and always as a person. I've enjoyed some Larry Brown books. Took a second try but fell in love with Donna Tartt's Goldfinch. More likely I've enjoyed stories about Mississippi: The Help, Secret Life of Bees at least feels like Miss., and Mississippi Burning has long been a favorite movie.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Eubanks takes readers on a journey through the real and imagined parts of MS that its people and writers know well. Reading this made me nostalgic for my childhood growing up in rural Central MS, spending lazy weekend and summer days reading the books created by fellow children of MS., traveling the roads and visiting the towns mentioned on the pages, or remembering the views shown in the many beautiful photos that accompany the book's discussions. MS has produced some of the most prolific write Eubanks takes readers on a journey through the real and imagined parts of MS that its people and writers know well. Reading this made me nostalgic for my childhood growing up in rural Central MS, spending lazy weekend and summer days reading the books created by fellow children of MS., traveling the roads and visiting the towns mentioned on the pages, or remembering the views shown in the many beautiful photos that accompany the book's discussions. MS has produced some of the most prolific writers and artists of the past and present, and Eubanks takes readers into their works and the real world places that inspired them. Using a good dose of historical research, letters, and personal interviews, this work provides readers with an insight into what it is like for people in what many consider an illiterate and backwards state; it doesn't gloss over the conflict between Southern hospitality and racial struggles or the desire for many to push to the future while clinging to an imagined or long forgotten past. I would recommend this for those that want to understand more about MS, American literature, American Southern History, or just want to understand how something run down or seemingly forgotten can inspire and help produce something fantastical and engaging. Thank you NetGalley and publisher for the dARC of this work in exchange for my honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hutchinson

    A Place Like Mississippi, written by W. Ralph Eubanks, captures the never-ending allure of Mississippi like no other book I have ever read. I spent my first 20 years of summers in Biloxi and Gulfport with my extended family. It became a haven for me and a place of beauty. I remember the pine trees, the cicadas, the rivers, bayous, and the most beautiful coastline drive in the entire United States pre-Camille. I still return to Bogue Chitto to visit my brother on his farm and sit a spell while re A Place Like Mississippi, written by W. Ralph Eubanks, captures the never-ending allure of Mississippi like no other book I have ever read. I spent my first 20 years of summers in Biloxi and Gulfport with my extended family. It became a haven for me and a place of beauty. I remember the pine trees, the cicadas, the rivers, bayous, and the most beautiful coastline drive in the entire United States pre-Camille. I still return to Bogue Chitto to visit my brother on his farm and sit a spell while reflecting on this state with a rich yet often tragic historical past blessed with a wealth of marvelous and unforgettable writers and poets. I am a fan of Mississippi authors (I’m looking at you, Greg Isles), and I am thrilled that Mr. Eubanks has highlighted what most feel is an insignificant state yet is so wealthy in culture. I will buy this book, and I will place it prominently so I can pick it up and remember precious Mississippi memories. Not all history is good, but it’s not all bad either. Thank you for this fantastic book, Mr. Eubanks. Bravo. Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC but my review and opinions are my own without bias. #nonfiction #aplacelikemississippi @netgalley @wreubanks #mississippi

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Heitzman

    Eubanks takes the reader on a journey across Mississippi, linking writers, photographers, painters and historical figures to the specific landscapes they call "home." He takes us from the Gulf Coast, through the Piney Woods, the Civil War cities, the Hill Country and the Delta to tell the history of those places and their impact on figures like Jesamyn Ward, John Grisham, Ida B. Wells, and of course William Faulkner to name a few. The text is embellished by absolutely gorgeous photography. This Eubanks takes the reader on a journey across Mississippi, linking writers, photographers, painters and historical figures to the specific landscapes they call "home." He takes us from the Gulf Coast, through the Piney Woods, the Civil War cities, the Hill Country and the Delta to tell the history of those places and their impact on figures like Jesamyn Ward, John Grisham, Ida B. Wells, and of course William Faulkner to name a few. The text is embellished by absolutely gorgeous photography. This book is a real treat.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Smith

    3.5 rounded up. I like the topic: Understanding how and why Mississippi has produced, and continues to produce so many writers. Good: He's writes very well. Handy bibliography to build my TBR list. Bad: Lacks a cohesive thread holding it all together. I think if he had fewer authors and added a bit more narrative it could have been great. Worth a read but not worth buying the hardback to do so. 3.5 rounded up. I like the topic: Understanding how and why Mississippi has produced, and continues to produce so many writers. Good: He's writes very well. Handy bibliography to build my TBR list. Bad: Lacks a cohesive thread holding it all together. I think if he had fewer authors and added a bit more narrative it could have been great. Worth a read but not worth buying the hardback to do so.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    Books are good way to travel to new places with your mind when you cannot travel in real life. I loved this one, it's well written and fascinating. I travel to places, learned new thing and loved it. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine Books are good way to travel to new places with your mind when you cannot travel in real life. I loved this one, it's well written and fascinating. I travel to places, learned new thing and loved it. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  14. 5 out of 5

    This Feral Housewife

    This is a book for anyone who wants to understand the state of Mississippi a little bit better. It breaks the state down into sections and tells you the history of each.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book is a real delight. A literary tour enhanced by gorgeous photography on nearly every page. I loved it – and learnt so much about the writers who come from the state.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zach Hunt

    A great escape through a literary tour of my home state. When finished, I had an entire list of books and authors I wanted to read as well as a list of places to visit.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Monroe

    This is a great book for history and education on all things MississippI! Wonderful read! This had many facts that I did not know about Miississippi from growing up here most all of my life!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maridith Geuder

  19. 5 out of 5

    Felicia Pollard

  20. 4 out of 5

    Seth Nieman

  21. 5 out of 5

    Perry

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beth Wang

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Levine

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darcy Mohr

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brennan Steed

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rick

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarahartfellowsgmail.Com

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  29. 5 out of 5

    kimberly keappler

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

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