‘Long, Last, Happy’: Barry Hannah’s Southern Charm
by Michael Schaub
January 8, 2011
Barry Hannah was a lit firecracker in a whiskey bottle, and no one who’s ever experienced his work can forget it. I was 16 when I first read Airships, Hannah’s debut short story collection. It was like hearing Bob Dylan for the first time, if Dylan had been an unrestrained, funny as hell, bourbon-soaked Southerner. And while I’d read my Faulkner and grew up two states away from Hannah’s beloved Mississippi, I’d never realized Southern literature — any literature — could do this before. If Barry Hannah’s fiction didn’t change my life, exactly, it made it more fun — and probably saved me from an intolerable teenage Sartre and Camus phase.