In the Wells Tower profile of Barry Hannah I reference in the spoken introduction to today’s story (which you should treat yourself to), written before Hannah’s 2010 death, the following is offered:
Hannah is not a writer to be read idly, with half a head or heart. His work thrives in his sentences, the best of which require a couple of readings to fully wring their satisfactions. The syntactic rigor and strange music of his fiction occasionally get him classified as a difficult or, less appropriately, a postmodern writer, and are probably why Oprah Winfrey hasnâ€™t called him yet.
It’s too bad Oprah didn’t jump at a chance to call him, I thought, then: it’s too bad I didn’t jump at the chance to write him a letter. Maybe it’s the sentiments of annus novus, or maybe it’s just the blade of edge needing sharpened. But, having recently driven through the parts of the country Hannah writes about, I can assert that “a lot of porches and banjos” wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all.