Mathew Paust is retired after a four-decade career as an award-winning newspaper reporter in Iowa and Virginia. He lives with his family within earshot of the cannon booms and clangs of the dueling Monitor and Merrimac during the War Between the States. His first novel, Executive Pink, is a political satire centering around assassination plots against the first female president of the United States. Paust is currently at work on a mystery, First Shot, which is set closer to home.
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Smashwords book reviews by Mathew Paust
- Confessions of a Southern-Fried Yankee
on Jan. 29, 2011
I read Confessions of a Southern-Fried Yankee with a hyper-critical eye, because, as an SFY myself, I was curious to see if the batter into which J.C. Dante was dipped before the frying was any tastier than mine.
Alas, it was. While I continue to struggle, after nearly 40 years following my transplant from Iowa to Virginia, to separate my oils from my awls and my you's from my y'alls, it is clear, unless Dante had a Dixie-grown interpreter assist her with this book, that she'd be a perfect choice as a vernacular coach should I ever endeavor to try a Southern voice myself.
On the other hand I must agree with Richard Brown's caveat in his highly critical forward to Confessions that a certain madness is also vividly evident in Dante's work - a subtle, dangerous mania easily the envy of a Lewis Grizzard or a Faulknerian Snopes, that I'd be courting lunacy myself were I to risk even a literary courtship with the likes of her.
Brown mentions a possible interest by Homeland Security in Dante and her stories. I would urge any federal agents so inclined to back off before they get too close and fall victim to Dante's visions of a hell so filled with raucous laughter even a stolid bureaucrat would risk provoking a raised eyebrow during his next job performance review.
Armed with these forewarnings, I nonetheless leaped into Confessions with a fatalistic curiosity. Here I am, still alive, yet nonetheless a changed man, lighter in spirit but laughably unstable. I shall probably never risk clearing airport security again. Besides, why fly on a machine when I can read Confessions and fly in my head?