Archive for the 'Sailing to Alluvium' Category

Faulkner comparisons abound in Sailing to Alluvium reviews

Friday, December 6th, 2013 by Brian Seidman

Sailing to Alluvium by John PritchardAuthor John Pritchard’s newest “southern redneck tour-de-force,” Sailing to Alluvium, continues to entertain and maybe offend (just a little) with a bevy of great local and national reviews.

Chapter 16, the online publication of Humanities Tenneseee, writes that Sailing to Alluvium “is, in the end, a biting study of class differences, every bit as profane as the plays of Aristophanes” and “every gotdamn bit as funny,” as Pritchard’s inimitable narrator Junior Ray would say. Sailing to Alluvium follows Pritchard’s earlier books, Junior Ray and The Yazoo Blues, each of which explored deputy sheriff Junior Ray’s mis-adventures in the Mississippi Delta.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal highlighted John Pritchard’s significant book tour in celebration of Sailing to Alluvium, which continues is 2014 with appearances in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, and Kentucky (see full schedule). (About his book tour, Pritchard quipped to the Memphis Flyer‘s Leonard Gill, “I can’t say enough wonderful things about [my publisher]. They work like I don’t know what. But, God, this book tour … they’ve got a list longer than a night in jail!”)

The Appeal‘s Peggy Burch interviewed Pritchard, who happily proclaimed that “his new book is ‘just a beautiful book, just a whangdoodle of a book. … I slept with it last night.'” Burch calls Pritchard “the kind of raconteur who makes easy reference in conversation to characters such as his late Aunt Peekyboo. Thursday he remembered that this aunt once heard from her friend Estelle, who was married to William Faulkner, that,” Pritchard said, “Bill wanted to write a book that he could get banned in Boston. That’s what I want.”

Brooks Taylor of the Tunica Times makes the Faulkner comparison, too — “Undertaking a review of this third book in the series, Sailing to Alluvium, I have progressed to the very position in which William Faulkner’s critics must have found themselves: how to parse a work of literature and a body of work that seems destined to add the author to the pantheon of greats in Southern literature.” — as does Janine Stinson of ForeWord Reviews: “Those who enjoy dark humor, persnickety personality, and tales of human frailty should enjoy this novel. Pritchard has brought the Delta to life in the character of Junior Ray with a masterful, fluid, and experienced hand. William Faulkner would be proud.”

Book Page also chose Sailing to Alluvium for one of their “What We’re Reading” features, praising Pritchard’s “distinctive vernacular writing style.”

As Pritchard notes in the YouTube trailer for Sailing to Alluvium, “As my Uncle Jack would say, you can’t raise children in a small community without a copy of Junior Ray to point to as a horrible example.” All three books in the “Junior Ray” saga — Junior Ray, The Yazoo Blues, and Sailing to Alluvium — are now available in print and ebook formats from NewSouth Books.

John Pritchard’s new book Sailing to Alluvium — free ebook, videos, Twitter, and more

Friday, August 16th, 2013 by Brian Seidman

Sailing to Alluvium by John PritchardJohn Pritchard’s new novel Sailing to Alluvium — hilarious, poignant, and potent — will arrive on shelves this October. Sailing to Alluvium is a follow-up to Pritchard’s two previous novels: Junior Ray, named one of Barnes and Noble’s top “Sensational Debuts” for 2005, and The Yazoo Blues, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

In Sailing to Alluvium, Prichard continues the madcap adventures of Junior Ray and his sidekick Voyd Mudd, who have become “diktectives” to stop the murderous activities of a semi-secret, lethal organization of Southern women, the AUNTY BELLES, headed by Miss Attica Rummage. Sailing to Alluvium is another brilliant, bumbling burlesque with an unforgettable cast of characters deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta, a place both real and imaginary. The novel revolves around obsessions, underneath which lies the dark history of a class conflict that existed in the Deep South, not among black and white but between the white “haves” and the white “have-nots.”

The Tunica Times wrote of Yazoo Blues that “sandwiched amongst the profanity and explicit sexual content is some of the most beautiful writing the reader is likely to encounter. Pritchard’s prose and poetry is so beautiful, in fact, that it will make anyone who has ever aspired to fiction writing weep with envy. He understands the truth of the Mississippi Delta in ways only a son of the Delta can.”

Pritchard stars in a book trailer for Sailing to Alluvium and also an extended video, both available on YouTube.

You can also download an excerpt from Sailing to Alluvium as a PDF or eBook.

Follow Junior Ray on Twitter! Junior Ray Loveblood himself shares his wit and wisdom on Twitter; you can also get the latest information on Sailing to Alluvium events and signings by following @JuniorRaybook.

Sailing to Alluvium by John Pritchard will be available in October 2013 from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite bookstore.

Memphis Magazine profiles Sailing to Alluvium author John Pritchard

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 by Brian Seidman

John Pritchard in the Mississippi Delta (Brandon Dill, Memphis Magazine)

Lush images and equally evocative writing mark a new profile of writer John Pritchard in Memphis Magazine, by Michael Flanagan with photographs by Brandon Dill. Flanagan, who knew Pritchard from when Flanagan was a student and Pritchard an English professor, let Pritchard take him on an intimate tour of the Mississippi Delta as only Pritchard could conjure; the Delta is also the setting of Pritchard’s first two acclaimed books, Junior Ray and The Yazoo Blues, and his new book forthcoming from NewSouth in October, Sailing to Alluvium.

Despite that John Pritchard is in his seventies, Flanagan writes in “Heart of the Delta,”

“He keeps a short ponytail and close-trimmed beard and you can find him in seersucker suits in the summer, and woolen knickers and stockings in the winter. He is genteel, raised in a society of manners, and speaks with an accent like fellow Deltan Shelby Foote — something that only adds to his charm. When you visit with him you feel as though you are being adopted into the world he comes from.

But he is far from the provincial stereotype of the small-town world.

John has lived in Memphis for more than 30 years, working as an English professor for most of that time. But the last eight years have changed things a little. Since the mid-2000s, John has won acclaim for two novels set in the Delta, which follow in the Southern literary legacy of Mark Twain, Flannery O’Connor, and John Kennedy Toole, but fall in a place of their own.

The first of these, Junior Ray, was named one of Barnes and Noble’s “Sensational Debuts” in 2005, and the sequel, Yazoo Blues, was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly after its release in 2008. Pritchard himself was nominated for the 2009 fiction award by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

I asked John why he wanted to write about the Delta.

“Well, it’s where I’m from,” he says. “It’s what made me.”

Flanagan notes that the profane narrator of Pritchard’s books, Junior Ray, “offers the reader … a perspective [of the Delta] that goes beyond an outsider’s view. As Virgil leads Dante through the afterlife, so John uses Junior Ray to guide his readers through the backroads, the juke joints, and the small towns of Mhoon County. And along the way he offers his unsolicited opinions on everything from God and sex, to the white landowners, the black community, a clever alternative to nuclear weapons, and everything else.”

In the Memphis Magazine piece, however, it is Pritchard who is Flanagan’s guide to the Delta, even taking him out beyond where Flanagan previously believed the Delta ended. Flanagan writes,

Soon we come to the top of one long, high climb. Nail Road suddenly plummets and the horizon leaps miles away in the distance to the west. Through a proscenium of tree trunks and the shade of full boughs, a sun-filled tableau of farmland opens in a wide valley beneath us. And meeting this flatland, just below the horizon, is the Mississippi River.

“There’s the Delta,” John says. He lets go of the steering wheel as we begin to descend, and lifts his hands into the air like a carnival-goer on a roller coaster.

“Here we go.”

And we speed between rust-colored ravines, descending from the hills, and enter the Mississippi Delta.

Though Pritchard’s book are humorous, even satirical in nature, in their conversation Flanagan uncovered at least one larger meaning to the works. “By the end of the ’60s, mules were going out the door,” Pritchard tells Flanagan. “There’s no more hand labor — there’s none. I mean, you don’t have people out there working the bean fields and the cotton fields, you have that big tractor back there. … Junior Ray is about change, from men and mules to mechanization. It’s not explicit, but it’s in there. The message is that the Delta’s changing.”

John Pritchard’s third book in the Junior Ray Saga, Sailing to Alluvium, will be published in October 2013. Download a preview of Sailing to Alluvium (PDF or eBook), or view the official book trailer.

Read “Heart of Delta” in full at the Memphis Magazine website.