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Too often, the southern gothic aesthetic serves to overshadow unpleasant social oppression, softening racism through its surreal lens. Every character achieves complexity; no one is easily defined.

Bizarre Baseball Culture (Book Review): “Brittle Innings” by Michael Bishop

Social roles are fragile, dangerous. The tension so brittle it could snap at any moment. Yet Bishop brings to life these heavy characters with crisp, light, unforgettable details: No longer do I blaze like a furnace. Thus, my capacities for a higher passion channel into three sustaining reservoirs: We get the immediate sense that Hank is not your typical athlete.

Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop

I have little regard for spoiler alerts. Bishop relies too heavily on phonetic spelling in this heavily accented, racially-split, southern culture. Offensive in some ways, tiresome in others, a few well-placed words of slang, or an occasional dropped consonant would better encourage the reader to pick up southern speech patterns.

Still, we should add this one to the White authors writing non-White culture controversy pile. And just like those honey-covered afternoons, the entire narrative drips with sticky lethargy. Is there a connection? The cover of the Italian edition completely gives it away, though. Love the review, and you totally sold me on Brittle Innings. Just like the physics jargon in Hard SF novels!

Little Sourav Ganguly hits an elegant drive in his debut match

Like Liked by 1 person. Did I ever mention I used to live down the street from the Green Mahnstah? Love the quotes about Coca-Cola and coin voices. Bishop is a really beautiful writer. I do hate it when authors go overboard phonetically to remind us of accents, though. I tend to resist phonetic spelling and dialect, although there are a surprising number of exceptions.

I think rather than using a bunch of apostrophes to signal a bunch of dropped consonants, or spelling out drawn out vowel sounds, we just need a few hints of idiosyncratic vocabulary.

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I live in Texas. Yonder is over there. Literature is language, and sometimes that language can be used phonetically to reflect colloquialisms with success.

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