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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 9, 2010 / 23 Adar 5770

Barry Hannah Dead at 67

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "The canned dream of the South is something I've resisted my entire career; it disgusts me. And being Southern isn't always a graceful adjective; it'll kill you sometimes. Often, it's shorthand for 'Don't bother reading this because it's just gonna be a lot of porches and banjos.' "

Barry Hannah, quoted in Garden and Gun magazine

"[W]hat interests novelists in these peculiar times, or at least this novelist, and what they are mainly good for, is not such large subjects as God, man and the world, but rather what he perceives as fault lines in the terrain, small clues that something strange is going on, a telltale sign here and there. … [S]ane people seem to him a little crazy and crazy people a little knowledgeable — a little like the movie "The Body Snatchers," where everybody looks and acts normal, except that they are not — but no one notices, except the poor novelist."

Walker Percy, "Signposts in a Strange Land"

It isn't often you turn the page to the obituaries and burst into one big, indecorous smile. After all, someone has just died. It's supposed to be a sad occasion, and indeed it is. The country — and particularly this bountiful, blessed and more than slightly bizarre part of it—has just lost a master of the dwindling art of the short story. At the entirely too young age of 67. Though whenever we'd lost Barry Hannah would have been too soon.

But there was no repressing it. After a short sigh there came the widest grin. Because he was that kind of writer, Barry Hannah of Oxford, Fear and Laughter, Miss. The man not only brought the American short story, Southern Division, through the late 20th century and into the 21st, but he did it with such delight. And with some awful, knife-twisting truths, too.

There were times when, reading one of his stories, you just had to read a passage out loud to somebody, even if you had to phone an old friend in the middle of the night. And if you couldn't read it to somebody else, you'd just laugh yourself silly, or find yourself going Ye-e-e-s! As if you were affirming the preacher's message at a black church.

And then, in the next paragraph, you'd experience one of those shocks of recognition that paralyzes you all the way down to your toes. As when you open a book at a random page and read: "Since he had returned from Korea he and his wife lived in mutual disregard, which turned three times a month into animal passion then diminished on the sharp incline to hatred, at last collecting in time into silent equal fatigue."

And that's just the first sentence of one of his stories. ("Get Some Young" in his collection, "High Lonesome.") The man didn't let go. Like the best vintage from a small country, Barry Hannah was cherished at home and known abroad, at least by the cognoscenti. Or just by those who happened to have come across one of his stories in Esquire years ago, or a whole collection of them in a book you picked up in an airport somewhere, and that is now a tattered treasure on your shelf.

Letter from JWR publisher


Naturally he professed in Mississippi — at Ole Miss. In the heart of the heart of the South, or at least of the Southern language. One of his old students and admirers (but I repeat myself), was quoted saying of Hannah: "What struck me, what blew me away, was that this was a person writing like you would speak to someone if only you were much funnier, much smarter, much stranger."

Barry Hannah wrote like a barroom raconteur thinks he sounds: unforgettable, unpredictable, unmistakable. Delightful and scary. A Barry Hannah short story is a kind of artist's revenge on all the people in the world who can't see what a strange, medium-sublime place it is: how full of hope and hopelessness. But mainly the world he inhabited and reflected was confusing and incomplete. And he wasn't about to complete it for you, like some lesser, neater author tying up all the strings at the end of a best-seller with a sentimental conclusion you might find inside a Hallmark card. That wasn't his style, if he had a style at all. John Updike, the master himself, spoke of Hannah's "accelerating incoherence." But how else reflect his slice of American time, i.e., 1942-2010?

Naturally he drank. And gave it up. Again and again. He started wild and mellowed, but he stayed funny and startlingly wise. ("The old guys are me now, is the horror. I'll wander up and get registered and vote.")

The New York Times, bless its heart, called Barry Hannah's art "darkly comic." When to any Southerner, it's just realistic. At least if the Southerner is lucky enough to live in a part of the South that's still Southern — instead of Atlanta or Dallas or some other extension of the all-engulfing and all-devouring North. Or, much worse, a too-perfect replica of the South. As in one of those awful short stories by a writer who sets out deliberately to be Southern. Even cute. You know, the kind of faux-South you find in the perfect magazine spread and that makes you want to shoot somebody. At least that would be bloody real.

The professional Southerner is the curse of the writing class. Barry Hannah never lost his amateur standing when he was writing. To lose him only a few years after the death of his fellow townsman in Oxford, writer and fireman Larry Brown (not necessarily in that order), comes as a double blow. Hannah and Brown shared a kind of dual monarchy of the modern Mississippi short story, the way Updike and Cheever did the American variety. And now Barry Hannah is gone, too. He leaves behind a grateful smile on our faces. And the wistful hope that even now the next Barry Hannah is about to come out of Mississippi, that inexhaustible well of the Southern word.

Wherever he is now, here's hoping Barry Hannah is still writing. May he rest in laughter and anguish, his twin media. Because when we join him, we'll probably want some good reading, heavenly or hellish.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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