SURREAL SOUTH is everything I love about being Southern. There's an inherited creepiness in the grotesque beauty, the strange motivations, and the dogs, because be honest, we're strange over our dogs. There are a lot of details to draw a reader to crack the binding of SURREAL SOUTH: the creepy little girl and the circling murder of crows on the cover, Rodney Jones' quote on the back, "Our Southern reality hatched as surrealism," and the editor's names, Laura and Pinkney Benedict. Not to be prejudicial, but don't you know a man with a name like Pinkney Benedict must know a good story? Just like you know a Daughtry is a politician or a Ruby can make a pie.
There are a lot of stories and poems in here one could pass out as treats to the tricksters. Right off the bat, the reader takes the side of a murderer in the opening tale, Daniel Woodrell's "The Echo of Neighborly Bones." Laura Benedict sneaks up from behind with unhinged madness in "Witches, All." I think I once waited tables with the Wonder Bread truck driving come elephant wrangling magician in Jon Tribble's poem, "Cactus Vic and His Marvelous Magical Elephant."
Press 53 is publishing a second edition of SURREAL SOUTH, again edited by Laura and Pinkney Benedict, to be released in early November. Just in time to build a fire, pour a big glass of red, and read aloud.