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The Vine That Ate the South is a mesmerizing fantasia where Wilkes ambitiously grapples with the contradictions of the contemporary American South while subversively considering how well we know our own family and friends.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-12-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Protagonist J.D. needs a quest to escape a trackless life, and to win back the heart of his one true love. He decides to seek out the Kudzu House of Horror, where explosive kudzu once ate the elderly couple living inside (their bones hang perpetually in the vines). Finding it will require navigating the Deadening, the forbidding wildland beyond Kentucky Route 3075, with the help of rugged good ol boy Carver Canute. Their quest takes them through a convoluted Southern maze of mythology and folklore great and sundry, including a Sin Eater, the Bell Witch, Mothman, yelling traveling evangelists, and of course, a lot of kudzu, the vine that ate the South and might eat you too, as likely as not. Wilkess sardonic humor and twisting literary explorations of Southern lore are as relentless as the kudzu entwining the story, and more fun than being attacked by revenge-bent ghosts. Myth-loving readers will be happy to have Wilkes pull them through the wicked high spirits of the Deadening. (Mar.)