Cover image for Ghosts across Kentucky
Ghosts across Kentucky
Montell, William Lynwood, 1931-
Publication Information:
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxi, 258 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF1472.U6 M66 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Eschewing allegiance to particular literary movements, Robert Rebein offers a shrewd topographical map of contemporary American fiction.

Rebein argues that much literary fiction of the 1980s and 90s represents a triumphant, if tortured, return to questions about place and the individual that inspired the works of Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Faulkner, and other giants of American literature. Concentrating on the realist bent and regional orientation in contemporary fiction, he discusses in detail the various names by which this fiction has been described, including literary post-modernism, minimalism, Hick Chic, Dirty Realism, ecofeminism, and more.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Rebein (Indiana and Purdue universities, Indianapolis) strongly disapproves of the critical attention that so-called metafictional US writers have received. For him, the work of novelists and short story writers like Thomas Pynchon and Donald Barthelme represents meaninglessness and despair, and is not even very much fun to read. Instead, Rebein singles out realism and regionalism as the exciting and enduring strains in US literature, a focus that is keeping the American tradition alive. This study examines "dirty realists" like Thom Jones and William T. Vollmann, who explore the dark truths of society, and "hick chic, or the white trash aesthetic" exemplified by Dorothy Allison and Annie Proulx. Rebein finds vitality in regionalist writers like Thomas McGuane and Charles Frazier, and in explorers of the new West like Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, and Louise Erdrich. Rebein also looks to Native American fiction and to something he calls "the white prison novel" to argue that metafiction was a flash in the pan and that realism has moved to center stage. Rebein devotes a little too much time to plot retelling, but his position is forceful and sincere (though Pynchon is still on all curricula). Beginning undergraduates through faculty. M. H. Begnal Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus