COUSINS TO THE KUDZU by William Doxey

COUSINS TO THE KUDZU

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Oughton, Georgia, fifty miles west of Atlanta, is the setting for Doxey's novel (really a loosely-knit set of identically-set stories) and the stage for some polished authorial naturalism. The South, to Doc Spaulding, who comes down early in the century to be Oughton's town doctor, ""was a country in which to be born was sufficient grounds to doubt the existence of Purpose, and to be born ugly was to be in perverse harmony with things. . ."" Perverse harmonies certainly are rife: the town tramp, the town transsexual, the town ax-murderer, the town Satanist (who's a state senator, too, and a U.S. senator-to-be). But the plainer, less lurid portraits have comfortable authority in Doxey's hands as well: the local judge's meddling wife, the sleepwalking grocery-store owner, the father of a defective newborn (in such grievous despair immediately after the birth that he seriously considers self-castration.) Doxey ties up this Our Town, Y'all with a final scene of comic annunciation--the sighting of a figure of Jesus among the kudzu vines just outside town--but it doesn't really convince; better is the less pretentious mosaic of the miscellaneous vignettes complementing one another with steady good humor and intimate knowledge.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1985
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ. Press