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A Short History of a Small Place (1985)

by T.R. Pearson

Series: Neely (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
548845,030 (4.01)11
Marvelously funny, bittersweet, and beautifully evocative, the original publication of A Short History of a Small Place announced the arrival of one of our great Southern voices. Although T. R. Pearson's Neely, North Carolina, doesn't appear on any map of the state, it has already earned a secure place on the literary landscape of the South. In this introduction to Neely, the young narrator, Louis Benfield, recounts the tragic last days of Miss Myra Angelique Pettigrew, a local spinster and former town belle who, after years of total seclusion, returns flamboyantly to public view-with her pet monkey, Mr. Britches. Here is a teeming human comedy inhabited by some of the most eccentric and endearing characters ever encountered in literature.… (more)
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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I quit reading this one. Couldn't get into it.
  kwagnerroberts | Jun 24, 2024 |
This novel about life in a fictional North Carolina town certainly has its funny parts. But its humor is tamped down by the writing style, which makes the novel rather painful to read. Narrated by a young boy as if he were relating gossip heard third-hand, so that every sentence starts with “so-and-so said” and rambles on interminably without a breath, the book quickly becomes tiresome. It doesn’t help that events jump around in time without much context so that the reader quickly loses track of what is happening when. And when we finally get to the end, we realize that, although funny, it was a rather inconsequential story at that. ( )
  sturlington | Jun 14, 2011 |
When I chose this book I think I had in mind that it might be a kind of Southern "Gilead", or even a bit like one of Barbara Kingsolver's books which is set in America. Or maybe a softer, less violent version of a Pat Conroy novel. It's not. None of these, and not appealing to me at all. Wikipedia says " His writing captures a uniquely Southern social order, outlook, and voice...". Well, maybe. Perhaps that means I am convinced that the South is not where I am, nor would wish to be. The writing didn't seem to engage me at all, and I gave up well before Nancy Pearl would advise me to. ( )
  oldblack | Mar 14, 2011 |
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read, and it is largely because Pearson always uses the funniest and most unexpected words and phrasing. It is a book that begs to be read aloud. An odd book, it is not so much a novel as a series of episodic stories about the eccentric people who lived in the fictional town of Neely, NC in the 60s and 70s. Some of these tales may go on for 50 pages, but actually have nothing to do with the overall plot. But it all comes together beautifully. It is told in the first person, from Louis Benfield, and is telling about his childhood, often relating second hand what he heard adults say. If you like a funny novel, don't miss this one. ( )
  fingerpost | Oct 18, 2009 |
Like Faulkner on laughing gas... needs to read outloud by a true Southen voice...
1 vote annelk | Jul 4, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Neely (1)
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For Momma and Daddy and Beezy Boo
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Daddy said it was a bedsheet, a fitted bedsheet, and he said she was wearing it up on her shoulders like a cape with two of the corners knotted around her neck.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Marvelously funny, bittersweet, and beautifully evocative, the original publication of A Short History of a Small Place announced the arrival of one of our great Southern voices. Although T. R. Pearson's Neely, North Carolina, doesn't appear on any map of the state, it has already earned a secure place on the literary landscape of the South. In this introduction to Neely, the young narrator, Louis Benfield, recounts the tragic last days of Miss Myra Angelique Pettigrew, a local spinster and former town belle who, after years of total seclusion, returns flamboyantly to public view-with her pet monkey, Mr. Britches. Here is a teeming human comedy inhabited by some of the most eccentric and endearing characters ever encountered in literature.

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Marvelously funny, bittersweet, and beautifully evocative, the original publication of A Short History of a Small Place announced the arrival of one of our great Southern voices. Although T. R. Pearson's Neely, North Carolina, doesn't appear on any map of the state, it has already earned a secure place on the literary landscape of the South. In this introduction to Neely, the young narrator, Louis Benfield, recounts the tragic last days of Miss Myra Angelique Pettigrew, a local spinster and former town belle who, after years of total seclusion, returns flamboyantly to public view-with her pet monkey, Mr. Britches. Here is a teeming human comedy inhabited by some of the most eccentric and endearing characters ever encountered in literature.
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