Allan Gurganus

Posted in Book Reports, History, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 31, 2014








PG had mixed feelings about driving to Dickhater to see Allan Gurganus. He was having a fine time downloading historic pictures at home. Clairmont Road is one red light after another. Being hot and miserable did not help. PG was not feeling especially liberal, or hip, and did not want to wade into the grooviness of the Dickhater Book Festival. You have to get out of your comfort zone.

Chamblee54 has crossed pixels with Allan Gurganus several times. There was a book show podcast. At 13:25 in the show, Mr. Gurganus says “I’m not an ironist. That’s why I’m worth reading.”

There had been a speech Mr. Gurganus made in Key West. After a while, the authorial wisdom became one platitude too many, and the file was turned off. The next speaker at the event was Gore Vidal, who was a hoot. Alas, the DBF is real life. Gore Vidal has gone to hang out with Bobby Kennedy. The only refuge, after the appearance by Mr. Gurganus, is Popeyes Fried Chicken.

The DBF event was promoting a book, Local Souls. PG got to page 62 in Local Souls, when he saw the protagonist living in a suburb of Atlanta called Collonus Springs. During the DBF appearance, Mr. Gurganus read a story from Local Souls.

Part of the Gurganus legend is his two grandfathers fighting on opposite sides at the battle of Shiloh. He sticks by his story that one grandfather shot the other. It is rather improbable, but a good story.

The event started on time. The DBF hostess said to turn your cell phones off, and encouraged people to buy, donate, and then buy some more. Local poet Franklin Abbott then introduced Mr. Gurganus, who walked up to the desk wearing a sport coat. Mr. Gurganus is from North Carolina, and should know better than to wear a jacket in Atlanta on labor day sunday afternoon.

His remarks bore little resemblance to the speech in Key West. There was not much to say in front of the reading, except to mention that he had been overserved on Saturday night. He did not mention his sexual orientation, as if anyone needs to be reminded.

After the reading came the inevitable Q&A. The reading had been about a flood which tore up his hometown in North Carolina. Most of the conversation was about the flood, and about making good fiction out of bad life. Maybe it was the biblical aspect of the flood that dominated his appearance this sunday afternoon, in an old courthouse.

PG had a question, but did not get to ask it. As the author was led away by the hostess, PG went over and asked if he could take a picture. The hostess was determined to get him into the book signing room. There were books to sell.

While walking with the author into the book signing, PG got to ask his question. In the Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac spent the winter in Rocky Mount, NC. It really did happen. The tree where Mr. Kerouac saw the Buddah was on the property of Mr. Gurganus’s grandfather.








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