This semester I am taking a course in contemporary literature. I went into this course expecting to read texts that are popular and part of the “modern canon,” if such a thing exists. My professor had a different idea about which contemporary pieces we should be reading. He had us purchase several novels, short story collections, and poetry collections (none of which I had ever heard of), and so I began the course with a severe case of disillusionment.
Now, as I begin to put together my final paper for the course (which is due this Friday… oops!), I am very greatful that my professor did this. One of the books we were assigned to read is a memoir by Scott McClanahan titled Crapalachia: a Biography of a Place. This book as been a journey, and I am forever thankful for it.
The author asks in the appendix that the text not be considered part of a genre that he refers to as “the Appalachian Minstrel Show”, and indeed it does not belong there. This book is many things: a search for truth, a quintessential bildungsroman, and ultimately a really good story that you can choose to find meaning in or that you can take at face value. However you choose to react, you will react.
The question I am posing for my research is what the author considers truth to be, and I am so very thrilled to find the answer.
P.S. Please read this book. It’s so important.