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A Summons to Memphis
by Peter Taylor
ISBN 0394410629 / 9780394410623 / 0-394-41062-9
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Peter Taylor is well-known as a masterful writer of short stories set in the old South; not the well-explored South of explosive passions, but an urban world of faded gentility and empty custom. In his almost Jamesian evocations of the mannered upper classes in his native Tennessee, he neither romanticizes nor reviles, but meticulously observes, revealing the patterns of social behavior that leave the individual at the mercy of a relentless past. In this, only the second novel of his long career and the winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Taylor weaves a rich social web in telling the story of one family's stark social decline, symbolized by a move from Nashville to Memphis, and of the consequences through the years and down the generations. [via]