Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tobacco Road


Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road (1932) is another one of those books that I reread periodically. For one thing, it's short and can be finished quickly (the Signet paperback version is 159 pages). Secondly, the tone is really hard to describe. Matter of fact, I suppose, but tragic in a way that comes off as dubiously comic. It's hard to laugh at ignorance and poverty, pitiful gestures and "a Sunday gone wrong." Yet the situations, bizarre to begin with, often get out of hand so fast that one can't help but alternate between responding with a sort of gallows humor and feeling grateful -- there but for the Grace of God go I . . .

This one still resonates. Poor farmers can't borrow enough to keep afloat -- the banks can't or won't lend and the property owners are far out of reach. The towns offer some alternative, but fleeing far afield may be the best option -- for those who can leave. 1932 or 2008?

Erskine Caldwell the author and man could leave, and he did, choosing to live on the East and West coasts of the USA some of the time, and choosing to travel around a lot in between.

Today's Rune: Defense.

8 comments:

Bubs said...

Funny, I was just looking at God's Little Acre the other day and thinking of re-reading that one.

And, sir, you're tagged.

JR's Thumbprints said...

"there but for the Grace of God go I . . . " I think of that quote every time I deal with an inmate.

Rocket_Scientist said...

never read this book before, and i'm looking for something to read right now. time to visit borders, i think...

Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely an interesting little book, with things to say for today.

the walking man said...

I suppose it is time to pull out all of the depression era library. Maybe to see if there are any hints as to what we might expect.

Maybe I'll re-read Gatsby then segue into Caldwell...sort of a fat guys version of being on the road; again.

Enemy of the Republic said...

New Rune: Defense Against the Dark Arts


We need it, buddy.

Distributorcap said...

wow i havent read this book since college --- and i have forgotten about it

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