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Southern Discomfort [Paperback]

Rita Mae Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

5 Oct 1998
Only Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle, could have written a novel as passionately delightful as Southern Discomfort.  Here is a witty, warm and pentrating tale of two decades in Montgomery Alabama--a world where all is not what it seems.  Meet Hortensia Reedmuller Banastre, a beautiful woman entrenched on old money, white magnolia and a loveless marriage--until she meets an utterly gorgeous young prizefighter.  Amid such memorable characters as Banana Mae Parker and Blue Rhonda Latrec (two first-class whores) and Reverend Linton Ray (who wears his clerical collar too tightly for anyone's good), Hortensia struggles to survive the hurricane of emotions caused by her scandalous love.  How she ultimately triumphs is a touching and beautiful human drama--an intense and exuberant affair of the heart.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group; Revised edition (5 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553274465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553274462
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,791,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic comedy 16 Nov 2011
I first read this book over 30 years ago [I can't believe its been that long]. I recently rebought a lot of Rita Mae Brown's books here on Amazon and I'm working my way through them, and enjoying them all again immensely.
Southern Discomfort can be dismissed as 'light' and 'comedy fiction', both of which it undoubtedly is. However, like most of her early works, there is a deeper and more bruised layer in this work. The characters range from upper class prostitutes with fantastical names [Banana Mae Parker, Blue Rhonda Lautrec] to upper class townsfolk with fantastical names [Hortensia Reedmuller Banastre anybody!] in between these 2 layers of female society in small town Alabama, in a time where being black means being less than human still, a variety of characters take us on a journey through 20 years or so of life in Montgomery, and what a whirlygig of a ride it is. From one of the town's leading society [white] ladies having an affair with an underage black man, which causes no end of ructions in the town, to the good Reverend Linton trying to reform the 'girls' and dry out the men... it is quite simply a tour de force of character writing. The laughs are here a plenty [the witticisms of Blue Rhonda and Banana Mae alone will keep you laughing] but underneath it all is the sore sadness of the human search for love and affection. The setting, both in terms of time and of place, makes this search all the more poignant. Racism is rife, sexism is rife [ageism too] and it is a struggle that carries the reader on and in.
This is probably not her most accessible of the earlier books, but it is a joy, and a modern masterpiece, so well and so finely balanced, the reader won't know which way the story will fall in the end. I loved this book all those years ago, and I have re-found my love for this book now. This copy, I'll be keeping hold of.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Rita Mae Brown novel 14 Feb 2000
By J. Devlin - Published on Amazon.com
And that's saying something cause I've read almost all of them, and loved most! The characters in this novel are so vivid and well developed you'll finish the novel feeling like you know them personally. Fast, smart, funny and ultimately heartbreaking (I cried for an hour after the ending), this is definitely a must for any fan of Rita Mae Brown.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rita Mae Brown's Best (And That is Saying A Lot) 18 Jun 2001
By Ricky Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Rita Mae Brown's Southern Discomfort is warm and fuzzy in all the good ways. She earns the pleasurable feelings from her readers through the creation of her dazzling cast of characters and spinning them through a marvelous narrative. I laughed and I cried and sometimes often at the same time. The author writes beautifully and easily allows the reader to soak into the Southern pool of charm she creates. I have enjoyed many of her novels but this is the one that always draws me back. It is the perfect novel for a summer day sipping a mint julep and wondering how eccentric your friends and neighbours could be if only they were Southern.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you read one, you know you must read them all 18 Nov 2003
By Peggy Vincent - Published on Amazon.com
Southern Discomfort is pure delight that is enhanced by author Rita Mae Brown�s wit, wacky characters, wild tales, and wonderful writing style. Southern Discomfort spans two decades in Montgomery, AL, in which beautiful, old-money Hortensia (married) meets the man of her dreams: a spectacularly gorgeous young prizefighter. You�ve got your small-town scandal, complete with Banana Mae and Blue Rhonda, a couple of high-class whores. Wonderful writing accents this surprisingly touching story.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incisive, a howler, only a few faults. 9 Jan 2000
By "waxwingslain77" - Published on Amazon.com
It is difficult for me to dislike anything which is well written, let alone a book with characters named "Blue Rhonda Latrec" "Hercules" and "Banana Mae." Hercules, a 16 year-old black youth in segregated society, has a few trysts with a white, "society" woman many years his senior; only to die shortly in a railway accident, but not before impregnating the older white woman. This smacks a little contrived, as does Rita Mae's overuse of cliches, but the book is still a joy to read. The author writes characters SO well that I find it difficult to dislike this book except for a few complaints (probably because I'm a man and don't understand women :). And as a former Virginian, I love anything which excoriates my former state--yet manages to keep ALL humanity in full flower. I preferred "Venus Envy" and "Rubyfruit Jungle," but "Southern Discomfort" remains a minor treasure!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this for a good laugh 24 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
One of my favorite books of all time. I laughed and laughed...when my father read it, even he was rolling on the floor in stitches!
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