The Weariness of the South

These ten stories of the old and new south feature the young, old, and middle-aged confronting painful transitions and oppressive memories, from brothers at odds in the 1880s to a kid in Civil Rights era Montgomery to an old man lost in the cosmos on a late-night bathroom trip. More

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About John M. Williams

John M. Williams
I have learned by teaching that I know nothing, but THEY know less than me. I have been writing for a long time and my hand aches. My novel Lake Moon was published by Mercer UP in 2002, and I was Georgia Author of the Year! I have published a smattering of stories, essays, reviews, and the like through the years. Now, to some fanfare, I’m e-publishing my fiction! Much of it is obsessed, like myself, with time. In theme it runs the gamut from icky to tricky with occasional grace notes of squalor and squeam. Songwriter Ken Clark and I have written five musical plays. See for details. Please have a look also at for some of my recent blog posts. When you purchase my work you are making a small contribution toward restoring the moral order of the universe.

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Review by: Gail Langley on Sep. 21, 2013 : (no rating)
John Williams can count me as a fan. The Weariness of the South, read like old home week to me, a resident of the region. Yet, I think these tales could find familiar ground in all hearts, in every family, regardless of the reader’s proximity of the Mason Dixon line.
In these the soulful stories, the old and new South battle for ground. The past and present rub against the characters like faithful dogs that can’t be trained not to snap at strangers. The language of the telling is often beautiful. Williams’ “Midway in Life’s Journey” begins, ‘A morning, in the precarious season between summer and fall, surprised the eastern sky like an organ chord. Everywhere the inexperienced light did battle with shadow...’John Williams is good with words and better with evoking feelings and engaging the reader.
I admit to a favorite story of the ten included In the Weariness of the South. “Peaches and Cream” resonated with me. It’s an account of a young boy’s trip to visit his grandmother during the dwindling days of summer, just before school stunts a child’s happiness. I share these experiences. I’ve been to Mr. Hatchett’s service station, and I’ve caught a Greyhound there for a trip to my relatives. I knew Cora, the grandmother’s cook and housekeeper. I knew all the Coras, black women who found the balance in an uneven world, who loved the children they helped raise. Peaches and Cream is really a joyful story. While reading I wasn’t sure if I was chucking at the boy’s memories or mine. I do know I’m grateful for the sweet reminder streaming from Mr. Williams’ pen. If you only buy the book to read this one charming reminisce, you’ve gotten you money’s worth.
Gail Smith Langley
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Rheta Johnson on Sep. 8, 2013 : (no rating)
In this dreamy-dream collection of southern stories, John Williams has done what is nigh impossible. He has heard, remembered and repeated all of our voices -- the child in each of us, the old person we too soon will be, and all ages and conditions in between. His stories sound like our fondest memories, our fears, our tormented, sad and funny lives. He nails it. Publishers today seem more concerned with a marketable mug than an arresting manuscript. Here are words without gimmicks, true and succinct, funny and wise and often a little scary. His has-been novelist character Babs Kath defines a "real writer" this way: Somebody who takes the time to do what anybody could do if they could only do it. John Williams is a real writer, and you leave this collection wondering why his is not a household name. When I read his story "Peaches and Cream" -- the best of the whole admirable and unforgettable lot -- I wanted to stand in the nearest strip mall parking lot, as his angry Man With No Words Left did, let loose a rant against a reading public that would ignore something this good and rush lemming-like to buy Grisham and Stockett. -- Rheta Grimsley Johnson
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)
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