Two-time Georgia Author of the Year and Ferrol Sams Award-winning novelist Raymond L. Atkins offers a lighthearted change of pace in his newest book, South of the Etowah: A View from the Wrong Side of the River. In this collection of humorous essays, Atkins explores a diverse range of topics as seen from the porch of his home on the southern bank of the mighty Etowah River in northern Georgia.
From this lofty height he holds forth on holidays, parenthood, first cars, home ownership, aging, travel, modern medicine, technology, ballet, old movies, marriage, Shakespeare, dogs, cats, music, swimming pools, vintage television, nicknames, amusement parks, restaurants, school projects, language, computers, hair, bad jobs, William Faulkner, weddings, advertising, Broadway plays, yard work, hospitals, cooking, Elvis Presley, moving, money, art, college, dinner theater, and a variety of other subjects.
Atkins lives and writes on a river, and the view from South of the Etowah is unique. It is funny, irreverent, wise, and well worth the trip. So come along! There is plenty of room on the porch, the coffee pot is on, and a cool breeze is blowing up from the river.
Atkins is at his charming best in this collection of personal essays--wry, funny, and always deeply human. SOUTH OF THE ETOWAH is a pure delight.
Man Martin, author of PARADISE DOGS and DAYS OF THE ENDLESS CORVETTE
Atkins is a natural born storyteller who never fails to deliver poignant and wickedly funny tales. SOUTH OF THE ETOWAH, will have you gripping your heart one moment and doubled over with laughter the next.
Kim Boykin, author of A PEACH OF A PAIR
In a world polluted with bad news, shallow sound bites, sadness, and terror, SOUTH OF THE ETOWAH is a breath of fresh air. Each story has that down home Southern texture so typical of Atkins' books, but here we get to meet him in the intimate worlds of his marriage and family life, where we experience his compassion, integrity, and his imaginative and humorous twists on the day to day. I enjoyed with out-loud-laughter every chapter of this book and the last one touched me with tears, as well. Read it. You'll be a better person for having met him in this way.
Catherine McCall is the author of the international best-selling memoir, NEVER TELL
This is a man's book but it made this girl laugh out loud. From stories about an old house, hound dogs, old cars, raising kids, living in the South and visiting the North, Raymond Atkins found humor, and at times wisdom. Each chapter stands on it's own, but they flow together to paint a picture of a life well lived. Men will relate to the author's observations and understand perfectly. Wives will suspect their husbands consulted Atkins a little too often. You'll want to read it a couple of chapters at a time to make it last. SOUTH OF THE ETOWAH has a permanent spot on our bookshelf.
Holly Sullivan McClure, author of CONJUROR
Reading these essays is like rocking on a porch with your best friend. Raymond Atkins knows what you are going through--he s been there himself, and he s ready in inimitable Atkins style to make you laugh about it. With lucid prose and disarming charisma, SOUTH OF THE ETOWAH exposes the ironies of marriage, parenthood, pet-ownership, car-ownership, and life-in-general in Southern culture.
Melanie Sumner, author of the novel, HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL
Raymond Atkins is a gentleman and a scholar, and he also happens to speak Southern. With his signature dry wit, he riffs on parenting, marriage, the perils of old house and hound dog ownership, and how he sees this crazy world we live in. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll have a lot more fun reading SOUTH OF THE ETOWAH than Atkins had going to Les Miz.
Sally Kilpatrick, author of THE HAPPY HOUR CHOIR
From back porches to lonely prison cells, celebrated raconteur, Raymond Atkins, has captured the imaginations of readers with his hearty, revealing, and often tender storytelling. This collection of essays casts Atkins, and the South itself, as its main characters. Atkins has tucked the reader inside his breast pocket, inviting them along for a romp through his experiences in the region so close to his heart--a love letter to his home.
Kimberly Brock, author of the award-winning novel, THE RIVER WITCH
Simply put, Raymond Atkins is an insightful and funny storyteller. Whether talking about nicknames, dogs, or home remedies, few people can capture Southern life with his level of cleverness and hilarity. In SOUTH OF THE ETOWAH, Atkins quickly draws you in to the familiar settings of everyday life and then takes you on a whimsical ride. This sharply written collection of essays is brilliantly witty, occasionally humbling, and addictively entertaining. I just couldn't put it down!
Jeff High, award-winning author of the Watervalley Books Series
Raymond L Atkins has become one of my very favorite southern writers. After reading his excellent novels Camp Redemption and Sweetwater Blues, I found myself eagerly awaiting his next novel, but Atkins had a surprise up his sleeve. With South of Etowah, the author delivers a collection of humorous, often hilarious essays that immediately brought to mind one of my all-time favorite columnists - the late Lewis Grizzard. Atkins’ writing style is uniquely southern, just the way I like it, and he writes about everything from motion pictures to old television shows, music to ballet, and more personal subjects such as marriage and aging. By the way, he is by no means prejudiced. He gives equal time to both cats and dogs! Buffalo says, “Check it out!”
Michael Buffalo Smith, Kudzoo Magazine, Author of Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock
I have always found Raymond to be a lyrical writer. His words flow so prettily and his characters become amusingly alive with their dialogue and quirks. This collection of essays is different from his novels in that he is the star character of the book and the story is his life in chapters. Throughout the book Raymond maintains his amusing tone as he gently makes fun of himself and his various life events. I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement through his discussion of raising children, forgetting their names, owning a home that frequently breaks, going to the Opera and so much more. A perfect book to leave out on the coffee table and grab a chapter or two with a coffee, or to carry in your purse (mine is always big enough to haul a book around in) for a few chapters at lunchtime. If you don't already know Raymond, you would more than welcome the opportunity to sit down and chat on the porch with him after reading this book.
Idgie at the Dew