Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Accidental Birds of the Carolinas


 
One of the pleasures of Wildacres is hearing fellow faculty members read from their work. Marjorie Hudson's beautiful reading of  "New World Testament" convinced me that I needed her short story collection . . . as if the title and cover art hadn't already been singing their siren song.


The 'accidental birds' referred to are the newcomers to the Carolinas -- whether today or in 1720.  The stories, rich in detail, characterization, and poetic imagery, put me in mind of Lee Smith, of Anne Tyler, of Tony Earley . . . but why should I natter on? Suffice it to say, I really loved these stories and recommend them to you.

Below is more praise plus a link to the title story. Just read it

STORIES

PEN/Hemingway Honorable MentionNovello Literary Award Finalist
Perpetual Folly’s 2011 Best Story Collection of the Year and SIBA Nominee, Best Short Fiction
“Like novels in nutshells, Alice Munro style”–Doris Betts
“Magical scenes, magical effects, vivid dreams, mysterious events. Birds sing through several stories, and by the end of the novella, there’s been a symphony of mockingbirds, whippoorwills, sparrows, frogs, dogs, bees, butterflies and more. Each lost soul connect to the natural world for healing and solace.”
– Deirdre Parker Smith, Salisbury Post
In Hudson’s fictional Ambler County, some of the characters know each other well, some drive by and wave, and some pass unaware they are connected by place and time. Hudson has captured the moment when rural life was still dominant in the Carolinas and able to charm a stranger into staying.Like birds blown off course in a storm, landing in an unfamiliar country, the characters in these stories need a place to roost, somewhere to settle long enough to learn the secrets of their own hearts.
Praise for Accidental Birds:
“Here is a field guide to the human species in transition….The three longest of these splendid stories are like novels in nutshells, Alice Munro style”–Doris Betts, author of Souls Raised from the Dead
“For any Southerner who’s ever wondered what it’s like to be a Yankee transplant, read Accidental Birds of the Carolinas… –  read more at North Carolina Literary Review Online, No. 21
“Hudson must believe in magic, and uses it in her writing, creating magical scenes, magical effects, vivid dreams, mysterious events,” says Deirdre Parker Smith of the Salisbury Post. “Birds sing through several stories, and by the end of the novella, there’s been a symphony of mockingbirds, whippoorwills, sparrows, frogs, dogs, bees, butterflies and more. Each lost soul connects to the natural world for healing and solace.”
“They arrived by Mustang, by marriage, by hitchhiking. The characters in Marjorie Hudson’s story collection, Accidental Birds of the Carolinas, have strayed — like vagrant birds — from familiar territory to reach a transfiguring moment in their lives. . . . Many of Hudson’s narratives explore themes of family — found, invented or inherited — navigating the often suffocating nature of belonging, or the catastrophes of reinvention.” — Kathryn Savage, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune

5 comments:

Mary Anne Rudolph said...

And you should include yourself as an Accidental Bird to the Carolinas. Your story, moving to WNC as a young married couple, buying the farm, raising children, living your life AND becoming a writer. What a glorious tale. My sweetie and I are accidental birds to Tennessee, buying our farm, enticing his parents to move there too from California, growing, expanding our community, retiring and moving to the Smokies and finding new community. A wonderful journey that continues.

Brian Miller said...

nice....love some good short story....so putting this on the short list to be read...also the claim she works a bit of magic in...that is good praise to me...smiles.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Oh thanks so much, I need another great home town book...as another transplant to the Carolinas. I'll be looking for it.

NCmountainwoman said...

Well, you got me. Sounds fascinating.

Darla said...

I don't usually like or read short-stories because, well, they're *short* and I like to immerse myself in a tale. However, this sample one was excellent; I'm still not quite sure how the author managed to put what felt like a lifetime of characterization into this short-story. Impressive.