Top Ten Tuesday – Southern Gothic/Country Noir 101

Posted August 25, 2015 by Bonnie in Top Ten Tuesday / 8 Comments

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

If you had told me a few years ago that I would come to love, love, love anything Southern Gothic/Country Noir I would have called you crazy. Because why wouldn’t anyone totally want to read about people making meth out in the backwoods in their single-wide. While that seems to be the feature of most books of the genre, there are so many hidden facets to these stories that I find truly intriguing. if there was a Country Noir 101 class going on, these books would be my top picks to discuss the highlights of this under-appreciated genre.

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The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock {Review}
Currently the only novel available by this author but damn if it isn’t amazing. This was my first introduction to the genre and perfectly summarizes the violence, nastiness, and awe that I love about this genre.

Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich {Review}
This one has a strong family dynamic that features strongly in this genre with a shocking mystery that will keep these pages flying.

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell {Review}
The only Woodrell I’ve read (yet) but portrays one of the most memorable heroine’s I’ve read. It’s also an incredibly dreary story that still manages to radiate hope.

The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan {Review}
Okay, so this is set in Montana but this still qualifies. This is Zupan’s only novel and like Pollock, I sure hope it’s not the last we see of him. The Ploughmen was absolutely poetic and has a much slower pace. Stark yet completely stunning.

Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer {Review}
This is the southern gothic style version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It’s one wild, unrelenting thrill-ride full of drugs and violence.

Deliverance by James Dickey {Review}
*banjos* Enough said.

Light in August by William Faulkner {Review}
I had to throw in a classic of the genre. Faulkner doesn’t disappoint with his rich writing style and complex characters.

Young God by Katherine Faw Morris {Review}
Much of the genre is a showcase of violence and Young God only adds a level of depravity to it. There’s also the fact that the heroine is a mere 13 years old.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy {Review}
Much like, Young God, Child of God captures the super-gritty aspect of the genre. You spend the majority of the novel feeling repulsed but there’s a complexity to this novel that will keep you thinking. If you can get past the icky-bits.

The Weight of Blood: A Novel by Laura McHugh {Review}
While this isn’t my favorite of the genre, it’s certainly one that may be an easy one for non-fans to ease into the genre. This one is definitely southern-gothic-lite compared to many others on this list.



8 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday – Southern Gothic/Country Noir 101

  1. Wow, that’s a pretty intense list. I don’t know if I’m up for reading them. I like me a serious psychological mystery, but the level of brutal violence in these is a stretch. Loved the movie of Winter’s Bone and heard that the book was even better (duh). Still, the amazing thing about this week’s topic is seeing the different categories people came up with!
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