The New South is enamored of her new work. Her soul is stirred with the breath of a new life. The light of a grander day is falling fair on her face. She is thrilling with the consciousness of growing power and prosperity.Henry W. Grady, “The New South” (Delivered 22 December 1886)
With those words, Henry Grady undertook the task of rehabilitating the reputation of the former Confederate States of America, framing the region as a modern utopia for investors that, in reality, provided very few long-term benefits to a substantive segment of the population. It seems appropriately ironic, then, that G. M. Lupo (named after a grandfather who’s named for Grady) uses this quote as the prologue for his first collection of Atlanta Stories, entitled Fables of the New South.
Charlotte’s compulsion to repeat back words and phrases said to her, along with various facial tics and contortions, have earned her the nickname “Echo” at school. Her brothers and sisters started out calling her that around the house when she was little, but now many of her classmates also refer to her that way, albeit more derisively…Excerpt from Mockingbird
Published in 2017, Fables of the New South is comprised of eight stories which highlight some of the richness and diversity of Atlanta as it assumes the mantle of an international city in the wake of the 1996 Olympics. The characters come to town seeking transformation, and, in some instances, redemption. Change never comes easily, but the rewards often outweigh the risks.
[Rachel] sat, staring out at the waves, the doctor’s words echoing in her mind, and imagined herself walking into the surf, walking until she could walk no further, then swimming until her arms failed her, and she was so far out, she’d have no chance of being saved. Then she’d just sink, let all the air out of her lungs, and allow her body to go under. The tide came in and splashed her bare feet and she realized she had been walking and was now just steps away from the water.Excerpt from Journey From Night
The themes of family and community resonate in Fables of the New South, both families into which one is born and those one chooses for oneself. The characters may have their quirks, but readers should still find someone with whom they can identify.
One might think that a naked man walking down Peachtree Street in Atlanta in the afternoon would be easy to spot, but Doyle Pendergast wasn’t the typical naked man. He strode along with confidence, almost daring anyone to call him out. He made eye contact, greeted those who bothered to notice him with a boisterous, “Howdy!” If hands were offered, he’d vigorously shake them before continuing on his way. If anyone took exception with his state, he’d cease his forward movement and engage the aggrieved party in a lengthy discourse about what he was doing and why, and few who questioned him found fault with his reasoning.Excerpt from Bare-Assed Messiah
Atlanta Stories: Fables of the New South is the first in a trilogy of books that focus on the ongoing tales of these characters. Along with the second book in the series, Reconstruction (available at online vendors), and the projected third volume, entitled Terminus, they offer a vision of the South in general, and Atlanta in particular, for the new millennium. Combined with a novel, Rebecca, Too, and an award-winning play, Another Mother, these constitute Lupo’s Expanded Universe of Fictional Atlanta.
Christine watched as Frederick sat at the dining room table with his back to the door, then entered the kitchen. She rattled some pots and pans and turned on the water in the faucet. She opened the drawer that held the knives, took out the butcher knife, and held it up, then looked again toward the door. She looked around and her eyes fell on the heavy, cast iron frying pan on the stove and she put away the knife and closed the drawer.Excerpt from Phoenix
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Reviews for Fables of the New South
An Author to be on the radar. I look forward to his insightfulness of weaving characters and stories to entertain and will come back for more.Nina Jones
Wonderfully brilliant stories. G.M. Lupo brings these characters into being, by truly capturing the mundane and the complexity of their day-to-day lives. He blends together a rich fabric of Southern culture, with a large city vibe.Marietta Rodgers
Intriguing, whimsical realism featuring a compelling cast of characters, woven together into a constellation of complex connections and wryly funny and poignant plot twists. Local flavor, color and places enhance this pleasurable collection.Sigrid Economou