Posts Tagged ‘carolyn haines’

Ghosts at the Welty Symposium

Of course when you think Gothic, one thing that comes to mind are old mansions full of ghosts. This year’s Welty Symposium has a few literary ghosts of its own. Of course, Sonny Brewer’s novel The Widow and the Tree is about the Ghosthead Oak, a 500-year-old live oak tree, and there are many memories and legends associated with the tree. And Carolyn Haines Bonefire of the Vanities (and other Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries) feature a a ghost or two, most notably the ghost of Sarah’s grandmother’s maid, who gives her advice (sometimes unwanted). But did you know we have some other ghosts in the symposium?

Several characters in Jessica Maria Tuccelli’s debut novel Glow see ghosts, and at least one is seen as a ghost. One of the main characters has a ghostly friend, Lovelady, who appears in an earlier time before her death. Another couple of characters are intimate with many ghosts and help the youngest protagonist deal with her own. There are other forms of conjuring in this novel as well, filled as it is with African American and Native American lore from North Georgia.

Christopher Lowe’s debut collection of short stories, Those Like Us, includes a story “Ghost Tour” that may not have actual ghosts, but tells of a character who makes up ghost stories, some of which may be more real than she’d like to admit, or may become real to her in the telling. Other characters in these linked stories struggle with death and loss. As with most ghost stories, there is an element of reality or normality that the paranormal brings to light.

Mystery and Mayhem

There’s plenty of mystery in this year’s Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium keynote novel, The Widow and the Tree, and there is crime, both contemplated and perpetrated, though I wouldn’t classify the novel as a mystery exactly. It blends some elements of that genre, along with the gothic modern fairy tale that Welty uses in her Robber Bridegroom. Both books serve as the inspiration for our theme this year, and consequently, we have a few mysteries in the group.

Carolyn Haines’ Bonefire of the Vanities may have the greatest claim to that fame, coming as the 12th in the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. Her intrepid detective is aided and abbetted by her sidekick and two dogs, as well as a relatively friendly ghost. Together they solve mysteries in the Mississippi Delta, bones of all kinds providing the common theme. Carolyn Haines will read on Friday 10/19 at 1:30 p.m.
Olympia Vernon also explores crime in her novel, A Killing in This Town, though the tone is a bit more sober, as she delves into the motives and the ramifications of a fictional civil-rights era slaying in rural Mississippi.

Finally, Michael Kardos brings his debut novel to the symposium. The Three-Day Affair has been called a mystery thriller involving a somewhat unintentional kidnapping and the college buddies who have to weigh their allegiance to each other against their conscience and better judgement. Both Michael Kardos and Olympia Vernon read on Saturday 10/20 from about 10:30-12:00.