A Turn In The South

PDF EBook by V.S. Naipaul

EBook Description

I came to this book much as Naipaul came to the South, curious and eager to see what was in store for me. A Turn In The South PDF EBookI think both of us were surprised.I was surprised that someone as worldly as I think Naipaul is would begin a turn in the South expecting racial disharmony and faceoffs.I think he was surprised to find, by talking to many people black and white, that this isn't so and also that religion is a robust influence there.He doesn't say he was going to see the black South.He explains he'd never been there and wanted to visit.He states early on that he began his trip without a focus, a direction or theme to investigate.My impression, however, is that he seems to have begun with some preconceived ideas, especially about the give and take between the races.I believe the fact that he made Tuskegee Institute in Alabama a dedicated destination points directly to his interest in the race issue.To me it's not as true a picture of Alabama as Birmingham would be or, say, Montgomery or maybe Selma.All three would provide the accurate perspectives on race a relative backwater like Tuskegee wouldn't.He did mention visting Huntsville in Alabama, but it's not truly representative, either.Knowing this about Alabama, I began to be conscious of the double deception this kind of traveling investigation allows.Those he interviewed knew who he was and that maybe he'd use what they had to say and also that Naipaul himself chose what to include.Because the South is steeped in race, he never gets very far away from it.But gradually he begins to realize what a powerful force religion is in the region.And there's a wonderful chapter on Nashville and music, though he seems to have put too much importance on the traditional country music of earlier decades, not realizing the music's changing faster than clogging feet.And in North Carolina he spends the final chapter visiting the old tobacco culture.It's especially there and in Mississippi that he saw the "immense Southern past" we carry in us and the importance of memory and the ties to previous generations.He wisely doesn't try to describe this but records the words of those he interviewed.Yet he maybe finds that the myths of the South and the myth of the Lost Cause and the worship of defeat and the loss of the world before the Civil War isn't apparent anymore.You can find them, find those perspectives if you want to.Then you can write about them.What you do is enter the South with these preconceived notions already in place so that you're ready to see them.I sound as if I don't like the book, but I do.I like it a lot.It's terribly interesting, especially to a Southerner, what someone unfamiliar with the region and culture will think.It's a wonderful book full of intelligent observations.I don't agree with everything he says and wish he hadn't toured with some of his wisdom already received.It's also important to keep in mind the trip and book date from the late 1980s, a long time ago in this age of information.It also predates the huge Hispanic influx, a rush of culture that has deeply changed and continues to change the South.Some things he gets absolutely right.At the beginning of Chapter 7 is a section in which he writes about the oppressive summer heat and the brief relief a thunderstorm provides.It may be the best writing in a book very well written.That was the preconceived notion I brought to the book, that Naipaul's prose would flow like magic.It does. Like this book? Read online this: African Traditional Religion In South Africa, Turn Away Thy Son.

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