Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes
This collection of Southern's short pieces -- two dozen hilarious, well-observed, and devastating sketches that expose the hypocrisy of American social mores -- is widely recognized as an underground classic
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 11th 1997 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
(first published November 30th 1966)
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I think genius is an overused adjective, but I'd use it qualifiedly to describe Southern's range, voice and freakish imagination. The stories assembled in this marvelous collection are so diverse that it would be hard to describe a theme, except to say that Southern has the eyes of an eagle when it comes to picking a target and understanding how to get the details and dialogue for it *just* right. Pitch perfect throughout, whether he's telling a story about a melon farmer who does epic battle wi...more
Mar 21, 2013 Jenny Devildoll rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Excellent collection of short stories depicting slices-of-life post WWII. The first two involve the friendship between a white boy of about 12 and a black farmhand who works for his father...as well as teaching the son a thing or two about farming pot. From there Southern explores the worlds of jazz musicians, scenester-wannabes, hoodlums, housewives, Cuban counter-revolutionaries, male nurses, veterans, writers...and in a few more humorous vignettes, imagined encounters between Franz Kafka and...more
Some of these stories are genius, some are really funny, a couple are cool and a couple of very odd. I wanted some of the stories to keep going, its frustrating reading short stories when that happens. However a couple of the stories are peculiar and I didn't mind moving on. Terry is an excellent writer and loves his narcotics. If you like the beat writers read this one.
In response to other reviews: yes the subject matter is sporadic, and yes there are a few stories of varying quality in this collection, but when the high points of a book are as good as this one's, I think those minor faults become irrelevant. I give five stars without hesitation to Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes, one of the invaluable books in my library.
Southern is difficult to pin down. On the one hand, he wrote the abysmal novel Candy and the screenplay for Easy Rider, arguably one of the worst, most over-rated films of all time. On the other hand, he wrote this decent collection of short stories and the screenplay for Dr. Strangelove, a work of cinematic genius. Tread with caution through all of his work...
The grade's a bit misleading, since there's a lot of five-star material in this book: The title story, its sequel, You're Too Hip, Baby, and Twirling At Ole Miss, a biting new journalism look at the segregated South. But it's weighed down by some half-hearted efforts that suggest Southern might have done better if he'd given himself a bit clearer of a focus. Highly recommended, but only in parts.
Some rather dated attitudes towards women (they are sexually uptight and repressive) and gays (they are silly), but some good stuff too. Does reflect the young men shaking off the 1950's. Has the scandalous item on the aftermath of JFK's assassination.
Some of these tales are totally off the wall. Like I didn't get the stuff between Kafka, his mother and Freud. But other stories, like the title story and "You're Too Hip Baby" are so tight, so focused, they make me shudder.
Uneven collection of Southern's short stories and nonfiction. I enjoyed his nonfiction work more and could see why some (Tom Wolfe) consider Southern to be the founder of New Journalism with his piece "Twirling at Old Miss." Also worth reading was the title story and "Knife Fight," concerning the rural south, and his stories that dealt with the jazz and drug scenes of the 50s.
Collection of essays and short stories. Not clear how much is fiction. Some clearly is. Others- like Twirling at Ole Miss are not- I think. Anyway- some if the stuff is really out there- like The Blood of a Wig- a story that winds up with the main character (written in the first person) shooting Red-Split or the blood of the wig which is blood taken from a schizophrenic. And it builds from there. Check out the second and third paragraphs on page 244 to see what I mean.
Mar 15, 2011 Dave Ward rated it 1 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes, by Terry Southern (The New American Library 1967)3569.08R43 is a collection of short-stories with no common theme that I could discern. The title story, Red-Dirt Marijuana, is the earliest reference to home-grown southern marijuana that I can remember running across. 2/10 (out of respect for his other writing), finished 3/15/11.
From this book, which I read my first year in college, I learned that suddenly, brutally, and senselessly killing the main character of a story is a great way to end it. Terry Southern wrote the screenplays for two movies that deployed the same technique: "Easy Rider" and "Dr. Strangelove".
Terry Southern was a highly influential American short story writer, novelist, essayist, screenwriter and university lecturer noted for his distinctive satirical style. He was part of the Paris postwar literary movement in the 1950s and a companion to Beat writers in Greenwich Village; he was at the center of Swinging London in the sixties and helped to change the style and substance of Hollywood...moreMore about Terry Southern...