Love in a Dry Season

Love in a Dry Season

by Shelby Foote


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Shelby Foote's magnificently orchestrated novel anticipates much of the subject matter of his monumental Civil War trilogy, rendering the clash between North and South with a violence all the more shocking for its intimacy.

Love in a Dry Season describes an erotic and economic triangle, in which two wealthy and fantastically unhappy Mississippi families, the Barcrofts and the Carrutherses, are joined by an open-faced fortune hunter from the North, a man whose ruthlessness is matched only by his inability to understand the people he tries to exploit and his fatal incomprehension of the passions he so casually ignites.

Combining a flawless sense of place with a Faulknerian command of the grotesque, Foote's novel turns a small cotton town into a sexual battleground as fatal as Vicksburg or Shiloh, and one where strategy is no match for instinct and tradition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679736189
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/1992
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 250
Sales rank: 1,206,928
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

Shelby Foote was born on November 7, 1916 in Greenville, Mississippi, and attended school there until he entered the University of North Carolina. During World War II he served as a captain of field artillery but never saw combat. After World War II he worked briefly for the Associated Press in their New York bureau. In 1953 he moved to Memphis, where he lived for the remainder of his life.Foote was the author of six novels: Tournament, Follow Me Down, Love in a Dry Season, Shiloh, Jordan County, and September, September. He is best remembered for his 3-volume history The Civil War: A Narrative, which took twenty years to complete and resulted in his being a featured expert in Ken Burns' acclaimed Civil War documentary. Over the course of his writing career, Foote was also awarded three Guggenheim fellowships.Shelby Foote died in 2005 at the age of 88.

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Love in a Dry Season 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
duchenf 6 months ago
A tame Southern Gothic. I can’t say that the characters or the plot line was realistic, but I enjoyed the story. Foot’s portrayal of women shows scant understanding, but his description of the town and countryside is excellent.
AHHP 8 months ago
Good read. I don’t know why some people have to tell the entire story in their review. I wish B&N would not print them
delphica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(#35 in the 2007 book challenge)Oh, this was lovely. Southern drama, infidelity, revenge and family strife, what more do you need in a book? The plot is fairly straightforward -- a stranger arrives in the Mississippi Delta (not the delta of the Mississippi River), from the North, obviously, because where else would upheaval come from? and tangles in turn with a sheltered old maid and a wealthy, restless young married.Grade: ARecommended: Must-read for those captivated by Southern Gothic. It's also a bit on the mild side of the genre, it's not the way out grotesque of Flannery O'Connor, nor heavily convoluted like Faulkner.
snat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First off, I read this book under duress: it was the monthly selection for my local book club and I did not look forward to the experience. The back of the novel compares Shelby Foote to William Faulkner, which immediately inspired within me the following thought: "Oh, crap." For I hates me some Faulkner. However, I've come to realize that, more often than not, a novel being described as "Faulknerian" is really just shorthand for the following: Southern; quirky, dark characters with unhealthy libertine appetites; and a tragic ending--and these are all things with which I'm okay. It doesn't always mean a rampant disregard for punctuation or that a boy falls in love with a cow. Foote's novel has a somewhat stock plot in Southern literature: Yankee comes to the South, tries to make inroads to the gentility and old money, and is destroyed in the process. However, it's the dysfunctional and well drawn chraracters that make the novel such an enjoyable read. Set in the 1920's, the novel has as its setting a South that is still torn between the traditions of the past and the modernization of the future. This is represented by the two women of the novel: Amy Barcroft, who is symbolic of the new money of industry and the loosening of Bible Belt morals, and Amanda Barcroft, who symbolizes the straightlaced world of old money and respectability. Both women are disconnected from the "Old Miss" of Southern myth and lack a defined role in society. Harley Drew, a Northern banker who longs to live the life of high society, becomes involved with both women. Throw in Jeff, a blind voyeur ("For what could be more pitiful than a voyeur in the dark?") and Amy's violently jealous husband, and it's just a matter of time before the crap hits the fan with particularly cringe-worthy and entertaining results.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I expected more of Shelby Foote.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shelby Foote, a writer best known for his three volume historical work, The Civil War: A Narrative (1958 - 1974), is also a highly regarded novelist and short story writer whose themes concern the heritage and culture of the American South. Foote was born in Greenville, Mississippi. His father died when he was five, and his mother raised him alone. Foote attended the University of North Carolina, however when the Second World War began, he dropped out of college and joined the National Guard. He began writing stories while waiting for his unit to be mobilized, and sold his first short story to the Saturday Evening Post in 1946. Buoyed by this success, he immediately began writing full time. Foote published five novels in quick succession, beginning with Tournament in 1949, Follow Me Down in 1950, and Love in a Dry Season in 1951. All three received admirable reviews, yet none were popular sellers. Love in a Dry Season is the best example of Foote¿s typical, reflective narrative style in which reality and illusion intermingle revealing a melancholy connection to the south and the past. As Dry Season opens, Foote maps out the history of three families in brief detail. The Barcrofts, an odd family of three, consists of an overprotective father and two reclusive daughters. One of the girls, Amanda, becomes embroiled in a sordid love affair. Jeff and Amy Carruthers are unhappily married and stay together only because of social standing and decorum. Amy, a disloyal wife and consummate flirt, becomes passionately obsessed with Harley Drew who is also desired by Amanda. Drew exudes charm and southern grace however the author soon reveals his true manipulative, selfish character. Drew¿s real intention is to marry money, and he soon abandons beautiful Amanda for more promising opportunities with wealthy Carruthers. Foote satisfies a proclivity for complexity with twists and turns intertwined throughout all of his plots. True to this literary form, Drew is taken by surprise by the consequences of his choices. Isolation and decline is an underlying theme throughout the novel and war is utilized as a constant metaphor. Although Foote was most acclaimed for his works of history, he maintained that he was primarily a writer of fiction. His interesting perspective on the importance of fiction was recorded in an interview before his death in 2005: ¿I consider myself a novelist who spent twenty years writing history. I maintain that professional historians would do well to learn something about the craft of the novel. This is based on my belief in a paradox that Oscar Wilde pronounced which is that nature imitates art. I think that's profoundly true. Until Renoir painted Renoir's children there weren't any Renoir children. Once he painted them, there were Renoir children all over hell and gone. Once the first painter saw colors in shadows, shadows took on colors for the first time. They hadn't had them before that. And the main thing I noticed about this application of art to life is when I began to get old enough for people I knew well to have died living a fairly full life. I realized that when someone dies, it puts an end to a thing that is truly a work of art. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. Until the end occurs, you don't know where the middle occurs. It truly does take on that form.¿ Love in a Dry Season is a poignant novel that takes on the full impact of human failures, powerlessness, and loneliness. In terms of the human drama, Foote presents an intriguing perspective on life and southern society. Love in a Dry Season is a satisfying literary journey that speaks to the heart of its readers.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s been said that in reality there are only six distinct plots in fiction. If so, then Shelby Foote takes one of them¿the classic love triangle¿and makes it his own.As in other novels set in contemporary times, the story takes place in the fictional town of Bristol, Mississippi, in the equally fictional Jordan County. Amanda Barcroft, virgin daughter of the supposedly fabulously wealthy Major Barcroft, has spent her life caring for her father and sister. A ¿catch¿, but the price¿the Major and the Barcroft ways¿seems excessively high to any potential suitors from the area. Another side of the triangle is the couple, Jeff and Amy Carruthers, returned to Amy¿s aunt¿s home, Briartree (surely not accidental that Jefferson Davis¿ Mississippi plantation was named Briarfield) on Lake Jordan. Amy and Jeff are a young, wealthy loveless couple held together by amusement with Jeff on her part and helpless obsession on his. Blinded in a car accident, Jeff is insanely jealous.Enter Harley Drew, from a steel mill town in Ohio¿the classic fortune hunter, the early 20th century version of the Northern carpetbagger. Cold, manipulative, determined to remove himself as far as possible from his Polish origins, Harley has no real emotion except greed. Seeing his chance at living the kind of high life he has always dreamed for himself, he courts Amanda, but falls in love with Amy.The heart of the story, but as in all of Foote¿s novels that take place in Mississippi, nothing is ever at it seems, and nothing ever works out as expected. Or, if it does, the expectation has nothing to do with the reality.Foote¿s Mississippi novels always give the Place¿Jordan County¿a powerful part to play. The area itself exerts its own influence and shapes events through its characters. On first reading, the characters seem positively weird, a collection of oddities. But at heart, these are really ordinary people, quite recognizable, who act the way they do because of the restrictions and demands imposed on them by Place. The result is not so much horrifying as seemingly inevitable and certainly absorbing in the telling.Foote¿s prose is perfect for the story. He was a master at delineating this sort of town, this sort of situation, this sort of people. He has some deft touches with local idiom that still is perfectly clear within the context. His description of Bristol society especially in the Flapper Era and during the Depression is a marvel of spare, detached writing. The book ends well after the climax of the story, but there is no loss of interest, and the end itself is unexpected.I consider that Shelby Foote was one of the best of the modern Southern writers even apart from his brilliant 3-volume history of the Civil War; Love In A Dry Season is one of his best.