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Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta

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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  4,506 ratings  ·  565 reviews
Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his ...more
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Published October 13th 2015 by Tantor Audio
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Nancy This is nonfiction--a memoir...the story of a bizarre adventure in the life of a young couple. The writer is a traveling journalist/documentarian(?),…moreThis is nonfiction--a memoir...the story of a bizarre adventure in the life of a young couple. The writer is a traveling journalist/documentarian(?), he and his fiancee relocated from NYC to a dying, southern, post-plantation town and immersed themselves in what was, essentially, a foreign culture. This choice happened because a charismatic friend who lived there, "on Pluto," invited Grant to visit and he was intrigued by his encounter. Pluto was the name of the bygone plantation his home was located on.(less)
Pamela It's present day, although he tells about things that have happened to him over the past 10 years, or so.
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Diane S ☔
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just love narrative fiction or a memoir as in this read, when it is done well and takes the reader into the heart and soul of a region, or a person, or even an event. This book does just that . Took me into the Mississippi Delta, a place I know only from reading the books of the many authors that this region has produced. Grant, a travel writer has a little more invested in this book, because here he falls in love with a place, buys an plantation style house where he and his girlfriend Mariah ...more
John
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know a book is outstanding when you feel sadder and sadder that each time you pick it up, there's less and less left to read: this was one of THOSE books for me.

Race in the deep south is a ... complicated issue, so perhaps it's fitting that a British-born writer (though an American citizen when the events took place) did such a masterful job. One might think that it was easier for him to understand where his white friends were coming from, but he's secular, and politically liberal, which
...more
Esil
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A high 4 stars. I really liked this book. I really liked Richard Grant. I wish Grant would invite me to his house in Mississippi so that I can meet his neighbours, eat some local food, drink some whiskey, see and smell the delta and area, help him fight off all the creatures invading his garden and house, and listen to more of his stories. Richard Grant and his girlfriend Mariah moved from Manhattan to Pluto, Mississippi, where they bought an old plantation house. Grant is an adventure travel ...more
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Perhaps being not just a southerner but also having been married to a Mississippi boy for over a quarter of a century sets me up for not particularly caring for this book. Call it a culture clash, but for me it felt as if the author looked me in the face and was stunned to note that not only did I use utensils to eat, but also avoided using my prehensile toes to climb kudzu vines and then rape wild hogs (the author mentions sexual assault on animals - twice - in probably the first 30 pages of ...more
Melissa
Dec 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
I really am of two minds about this book. Grant is a great writer. I wanted to keep reading this book- he really gives his readers a good time and attempts to give balanced view of the Delta. He tried really hard. I got really tired, however, of the endless bottles of bourbon (though yes, every Deltan I've ever known could drink me under the table- I don't even try to keep up), the "aren't they comical" tone that crops up repeatedly-and was tiresome. This nagged at me through the entire book. As ...more
Mississippi Library Commission
To natives of the state, Mississippi is simply our home. We tend to forget that it is a place of contradictions; Mississippi has given birth to a population who manifests and embraces those seeming differences. Richard Grant has a keen ear for a good story and the Mississippi Delta has stories in spades. While no single book can tell the whole story of any place (especially a place like Mississippi!), Grant's tales of his meetings with wildlife and with humans and of his travels and adventures ...more
* A Reader Obsessed *
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-mm, audio
This definitely brings to the fore the dichotomy of the old south and trying to bring Mississippi into the 21st century. There’s no easy answer and no easy solution but fascinating table talk for sure.
Tiffany
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
I took my time with this book, so much in fact that I waited two months before finishing the last five pages. I did not want it to end. Richard Grant, an adventure writer, bought a house in the Mississippi Delta with his then girlfriend and now wife, and recorded his experiences. I've read lots of reviews that are angered by things Grant spoke about. I get it, who wants to admit that Mississippi is in some ways drastically different from how people believe and in some ways still the same? How ...more
Dana Stabenow
"In twenty-two years," Grant writes, "I had changed my address eighteen times." A peripatetic writer whose job had taken him from East Africa to the Sierra Madre, his Manhattan pied-à-terre has become a little claustrophobic, not just to him but to his girlfriend Mariah and his dog Savanna.

So when he goes to Mississippi to visit his cookbook author friend Martha Hall Foose, and she shows him her ancestral home, a plantation house on five acres that her father wants to sell, he decides to
...more
Ted Lehmann
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dispatches from Pluto – Richard Grant

Dispatches from Pluto (Simon & Schuster, 2015, 320 pages, $16.00/11.99) is simply the best book on race in America I've ever read. Things we say and don't say, relationships we have and don't have, long-held misunderstandings and new insights grown from distance and proximity. By moving from his comfortable liberalism in New York to the poorest town in the poorest region, in the poorest and blackest state in America, Richard Grant learns, explains, and
...more
Nan Williams
Mar 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: no-more
This memoir details an Englishman, now an American citizen, who moved from literary and intellectual circles in NYC to the Mississippi Delta with his live-in girl friend, a very metropolitan native of Arizona.

The first few chapters of this book were reasonable in their depiction of our main characters’ bewilderment about the culture and way of life in the Delta. They were confused about the fact that Negro and White citizens can be life long best friends, but not socialize together nor even eat
...more
Rick
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book! Mr. Grant, a well-traveled Englishman, ends up buying a home in a part of the Mississippi delta that even many from Mississippi were unfamiliar with. Through that experience, and his wonderful chronicling of it, he introduces us to a whole host of fascinating (generous beyond measure, conflicted, brilliant, flawed, and sometimes insane) people and a social structure far more complex and perplexing than most of us would have imagined. He simultaneously busts and confirms ...more
Caroline Lampinen
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race, memoir, the-south
I was very torn between giving this book 3 or 4 stars, but for the tone of it decided four. I enjoyed it, read it quickly, and found it honest and genuine from the author's perspective. As a Yankee who called the Delta home for four years, many of the sentiments had me nodding and laughing, or gritting my teeth in shame or the feeling that important secrets were being let out.

I appreciate that Grant tackles the issues of race and income inequality but wish he had done it with a bit more
...more
Martin Budd
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I love most about being a member of Goodreads is to have access to the reviews of books I've read by "normal" people (not paid reviewers in magazines etc) from the countries in which the books are based. There is an authenticity that you just don't get with paid reviewers that I love. I never read the reviews before I've read the book - I always want to keep an open mind whilst I'm reading it, however afterwards I find it fascinating to see the angle and insight others have had ...more
Nicole D. Lybrand
Such an interesting dive into the culture of the Mississippi delta! Explores corruption, gun policy, and race relations, among many other things -- all from the perspective of an ex pat Englishman who has nomadic tendencies. Well written and filled with enough interesting stories to keep the reader engaged, I would recommend this to anyone in the South or anyone who wants to develop a better understanding of southern culture.
Megan
In the prologue, Grant says: One of my hopes in writing this book is to dissolve these clumsy old stereotypes, and illustrate my conviction that Mississippi is the best-kept secret in America. Nowhere else is so poorly understood by outsiders, so unfairly maligned, so surreal and peculiar, so charming and maddening. Individually, collectively, and above all politically, Mississippians have a kind of genius for charging after phantoms and lost causes. Nowhere else in the world have I met so many ...more
KimSue
Mississippi Delta=it's complicated
Enjoyed the stories of "home" and see glimpses of "my" Delta but hope that others see that they are wonderful stories about moments. Not the whole picture and not meant to further stereotypes. Because while I have been to Labor Day dove hunts, taken bloodies to tailgate parties, and been to pretty much every Delta town mentioned.. I do not own camo, a confederate flag, eat raccoon and did not grow up on a plantation. There are some of the most wonderful people
...more
Paula DeBoard
An interesting story of a journalist/world traveler based in NYC who buys an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Sometimes an outsider can illuminate the world we're accustomed to better than we can ourselves, which is one reason I'm drawn to these fish-out-of-water stories.

Some chapters were brilliant and compelling; others were less memorable and bordered on repetitive.

All in all, an interesting read.
Maureen Forys
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parts of this book are problematic and made me hate the author.

That being said, the delta is a weird as hell place that I'm super happy I was able to call home (well. I was 100% an outsider. But something like home) for three years. This book captured a lot of what made it wonderful, dumbfounding, infuriating, and completely unique.
Koren
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When I read the some of the blurb for this book I thought it was going to be a typical book about people that move somewhere that they have no idea what they are getting themselves into and then have one mishap after another but that was not the case. The author and his then girlfriend move to Mississippi just because they visited it once and really liked it. In some ways it is about dealing with things they didnt anticipate, such as living in an old house and raising a garden and animals when
...more
Sam
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book to read after a weekend away in the Delta
Jen
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Classic yankee city boy comes to rural south, points out obvious and marvels at natives, a la the podcast "s*** town." But, it did have some interesting delta blues stories. I wonder what his new delta friends of both races felt about his perceptions of them and their home state.
Tippy
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it, give it a read! I found it at square books in Oxford, MS in the local writers section & so glad that I did. It's a good blend of fun, serious, & a nice peek at life in this part of the South.
Laura
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, travel
I get the title, Dispatches from Pluto. Pluto is the town in the Mississippi Delta area that Richard and Mariah move to. I don't quite get the subtitle though, Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta. Not sure what was supposed to have been lost, but it's easy to see that they found a whole new way of life in Pluto during this year in a life view.

Richard and Mariah move into Doc Foose's old house. There they make battle with the wildlife including alligators, cottonmouths, armadillos, rats and
...more
Lisasue
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, memoir
I chose to read this book in an effort to understand a branch of my family that moved to MS in the 1980's, and pretty much went native. As a liberal west-coaster with some pretty deep Yankee family roots, I have a tough time wrapping my head around the fact that I have relatives who have names like TJ, post things like, "I'm fixing to make some biscuits" on Facebook, and sew a custom camo sash for their daughter's wedding dress. I love them very much, and I admire them for how very kind they are ...more
Darden North
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where was Cleveland?

By Darden North | September 5, 2016 (Audiobook)

I guess Grant never reached Cleveland during his tour of the Delta, that vibrant community an antithesis of this liberal discourse on Mississippi race relations, overall poverty, and crumbling education. Regarding the English narrator's cadence in the audio book, it was often repetitious, and he sometimes mispronounced words including names of Mississippi counties, such as Bolivar. The narrator could have spent a little time on
...more
Victor Davis
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
What a delight to read! I picked up this book at one of the dozens of book stores and gift shops in the delta selling it. Part travelogue, part memoir, it's an hysterical exploration of the kooky culture and characters living in the poorest part of the poorest state in the union, the Mississippi Delta, a rich-soiled, cotton-planted floodplain extending from Vicksburg to Memphis. I just finished a weeklong tour of the region myself, so it was especially delightful to read about all the places I'd ...more
Tucker
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There have been plenty of books about city folks moving to the country, but Richard Grant provides a unique and insightful perspective in his new book “Dispatches From Pluto.” As Grant and his girlfriend embark on a new life in the unknown and sometimes strange land of the Mississippi Delta, they meet and befriend many colorful characters. Grant’s relationships with these characters is always conducted with an eye to understanding, not ridiculing or marginalizing them. At the heart of the book ...more
Melody
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Londoner and a Manhattanite move to the Mississipi Delta. How could this not be interesting?!
Jason Kemp
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a native Mississippian, I approve this book! Grant captured us and our issues as well as you can
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Richard Grant is a freelance British travel writer based in Arizona. He was born in Malaysia, lived in Kuwait as a boy and then moved to London. He went to school in Hammersmith and received a history degree from University College, London. After graduation he worked as a security guard, a janitor, a house painter and a club DJ before moving to America where he lived a nomadic life in the American ...more
“It’s why the Delta doesn’t progress. It’s not having anything, and not really wanting anything, because that would mean change. That would mean taking on more responsibility. Too many of our people are not interested in progress and change.” 3 likes
“that it was good for different cultures to come together, and chip away at human prejudice one party at a time.” 3 likes
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