“It’s easy to forget, or to not know in the first place”: Sam Stephenson’s wonderful Southern Holiday

6 Feb

“It’s easy to forget, or to not know in the first place (unless you read Faulkner and Welty), how vital and complicated these small Southern towns once were. Joseph Mitchell grew up in Fairmont, North Carolina, a town of three thousand people just across the border, and later he became the bard of back-alley New York City. In an interview late in his life with the Raleigh News & Observer, he compared the Fairmont of his youth to New York’s bustling wharfs and waterfront docks: each contained multitudes. Both are now long gone.”

— Sam Stephenson, Southern Holiday Part 1, in the Paris Review

(You need to read the whole piece. Really.)

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