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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Author Barry Hannah RIP

I had the good fortune of meeting Barry Hannah a few times when he was teaching at Clemson University. I then managed to get a signed copy of his first novel Geronimo Rex, which he had just published. He was a Faulkner-styled Southern Gothic writer with quite a gift for short fiction. Geronimo Rex was a National Book Award nominee and William Faulkner Prize winner; his short fiction collections netted him the PEN/Malamud Award.

Here is an oft-quoted bit from the 1972 New York Times review of Geronimo Rex, the review written by writer Jim Harrison of Legends of the Fall fame. Harrison said that Hannah was a writer

“brilliantly drunk with words [who] could at gunpoint write a life story of a telephone pole.”

This quote was in each of several articles I read about Barry Hannah's death, including the excellent one in Vanity Fair. Hannah struggled with cancer and drinking, the former one finally winning.

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