From BBC radio 4 – Book of the Week
Paul Theroux’s account of his car journeys through America’s southern states is timely, and abridged for radio by Katrin Williams:
1. He’s in Tusacaloona, in a car park, thinking about going to church. In a vehicle beside him sits Lucille, all black silk and lacey sleeves – “You lost, baby?” Her welcoming words are typical of the South..
2. In Greensboro he meets the impressive Rev. Eugene Lyles, aged 79, who has his own church, his own barber shop and runs the local diner on Main Street. So, time for a haircut, then some lunch.
3. The author stays at the ‘Blue Shadows Bed and Breakfast’ in Greensboro, and through its owner, Janet May, meets Randall Curb. And through Curb he will then encounter the legendary Mary Ward Brown, short story
writer, aged 96.
4. At Aiken’s steeplechase event he meets well-healed locals, mainly horse people and cotton baron descendents. Then he visits a hovel, once inhabited by Melvin Johnson, who has stories to tell.
5. He takes to the backroads of Georgia and Alabama, which smell of sun-heated tar. The fields are full of cotton and the big rivers beckon.
Reader Henry Goodman
Producer Duncan Minshull.