Saturday, December 20, 2014

A meditation on not being too clever on the Interwebs

I had to LOL at this NYT piece, "A Meditation on the Art of Not Trying," because it gives me an excuse to explain my email handle "wu-nien" to those who have wondered for decades--and a cautionary tale about being too clever. "Wu-nien" is D.T. Suzuki's translation of the Buddhist concept of "no thought," and the Zen idea of "no thought, no mind," which is that this article discusses. Since my domain was the old "mindspring" (now "earthlink"), I thought a "no-thought" paired with a "mindspring" handle was incredibly clever for a Zen dude.

Turns out NO ONE ever gets it, and there is quibbling about the translation, but I've had the address so long it is hard to change. And thus one more web-naming fail (never go for subtle) and one more thing from the internet you never really needed to know. But this article is still very nice.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"South, America" reviewed in San Antonio Express-News-- "gritty volume of Southern noir"

South, America gets another fine review in the San Antonio Express-News:

“...suspense and drama in this gritty volume of Southern noir….The backdrop of pre-Katrina New Orleans is perfect for this novel. Davis paints it in tones that show an abiding admiration for the place and its people, and a respect for its enigmatic beauty.” — Yvette Benavides, San Antonio Express-News

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"South, America" reviewed in The Austin Chronicle--"New Orleans noir steeps the reader in Southern atmosphere, history, and violence"

Need some good summer reading? The Austin Chronicle's Mike King recommends South, America in its July Fourth "Lone Star (In)Justice" listing of top crime fiction:

"Rod Davis' new thriller is labeled 'A Jack Prine Novel,' and introduces its world-weary hero, savvy and muscular enough to carry on his back what promises to be an engaging Southern noir series… Like the coy comma in the book's title that redetermines its meaning, the novel proceeds by indirection and sly tangent, through sudden explosions of violence into meditations on Southern history and its persistent burdens on the present.”

Order easily via my author webpage.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"South, America" review in Montgomery Advertiser--"a fine Southern crime novel"

 "...evokes the uniquely beautiful but sometimes deadly topographies of New Orleans, the Delta and the Deep South." -- The Montgomery Advertiser

Wonderful review from the Montgomery Advertiser. Truly an honor to be recognized by one of the South's leading dailies.

"South, America" review from "Alabama's oldest weekly newspaper"

 "I can’t wait for his next book! I hope this is the first in a whole succession of Jack Prine adventures!"--the Moulton Advertiser

 Love this review from "Alabama's oldest weekly newspaper," the Moulton Advertiser. It's really nice to get a connection from the heart of the place I write about. And, yes, she's right, that's how we give directions in the South!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review of "South, America" in Dallas Morning News--"a good page turner"

Thanks to The Dallas Morning News for this enthusiastic review of South, America... "Throw in some voodoo, the mob, race relations in the pre-Katrina South (the book is set in 2000), as well as some classic and modern art, and you have a recipe for a good page-turner....Davis sets a lively pace."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stop demonizing Sgt. Bergdahl now!

Goodonya NYT. Of all the shameful and hateful bilge that has come out of certain elements in Congress because Obama is president, this demonizing of a rescued soldier (and his family) without a shred of proof has got to be the worst. Damn it, America doesn't roll this way! Or didn't use to.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review of "South, America": It's "Gritty Southern noir"

"Gritty Southern noir."  That's what Dallas critic Si Dunn says about South, America in his new review on his blog "Books, Books and More (New) Books." Works great for me. You can find more at my author page,

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Styron on writing, from The Paris Review

I've always been interested in what writers say about writing. This classic with with Styron is one of the best--from the dismissal of "teaching" creative writing, to the ambiguous issue of a "Southern" perspective, to just getting it done. It's worth a few minutes to read even now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Outrageous slander of vets by NYT

The NYT has crossed far over the line with this op-ed slandering veterans, especially Vietnam Era, because a few of them may have links to right-wing groups. Not only this the very promise utterly specious in its methodology, it adds yet another burden and stigma to the MILLIONS of veterans who served their country and especially those who were wounded or died doing so. I am sure the veterans communities of America will rise up in the same kind of anger I feel towards this outrageous bullshit and condemn the New York Times as it so rightly deserves.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Living and learning in Baton Rouge, 1968

I received a nice invitation today to be a guest speaker at the Louisiana Book Festival next Nov. 1 in Baton Rouge to discuss my new novel "South, America." Thinking of going back to the city where I went to grad school at LSU (government) reminded me of "The Chord of G," a personal essay I wrote for the late, great Southern Magazine back in '89.
 I had almost forgotten what life was like for me back in '68, sharing a house with a Vietnam vet and learning something important from my neighbors. You can also see "The Chord of G" and other pieces, on my author webpage, RodDavis 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A preacher with more than two suits

"Any preacher with more than two suits is living a lie."--Gaye Adegbalola nails it. Heed, Sunday TV pulpits. Watch, listen. This is the way I heard it in the small churches of Georgia and Texas growing up.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Praise for "South, America"

From NewSouth Books: Award-winning author Rod Davis's new novel "South, America," is Southern noir at its best. Just published by NewSouth Books, "South, America" is being compared to the works of James M. Cain and Mickey Spillane. The mystery is set in pre-Katrina New Orleans.

Southern Literary Review calls "South, America" "masterful." Tony Dunbar, author of the Tubby Dubonnet series, says, "It's a riveting read."

Rod Davis has won numerous book awards including the PEN/Southwest fiction award in 2005 for "Corina's Way," also published by NewSouth Books.

"South, America" is available from NewSouth Books in paperback and ebook:

"South, America" gets delivered

Nothing like coming back from your laps around the park to find a UPS box at your doorstep, with copies of your new novel inside. Thanks, NewSouth Books. Another great cover!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"South, America: A Jack Prine Novel" now available!

I'm happy to announce that South, America: A Jack Prine Novel is out available from NewSouth Books as an e-book or trade paperback. Here's the release with ordering info. Click to order and enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Arundhati Roy, Fiction and Nonfiction

Excellent NYT profile of Arundhati Roy, especially for writers like me--and many of you--who find themselves torn between fiction and nonfiction. And willing to cross literature and politics.

Monday, February 24, 2014

"American Voudou" interview coming in Dutch documentary

The Dutch writer and documentary-maker Leendert van der Valk is researching an upcoming film on voudou and music, from Africa to America. I will be meeting him this week in St. Martinville, Louisiana to talk about my book, American Voudou. I am really looking forward to it. Meanwhile here's a link from his very cool website, with a short profile of American Voudou (now also available on Kindle). The text below is in Dutch but you can get the idea. Click for the "English" version of the website but this part is still not translated. Look for it as you scroll down in the Updates box on the home page.The website has some great music, too.  I'll post more after our meeting.

American VoudouJournalist en schrijver Rod Davis zocht eind jaren tachtig, begin jaren negentig naar de overblijfselen van voodoo in Amerika. In 1999 kwam zijn boek American Voudou uit, een persoonlijk verslag over deze zoektocht. Zijn conclusie: de slavenreligie voodoo is eeuwenlang zo effectief gedemoniseerd (letterlijk) en gemarginaliseerd dat zelfs de mensen die het nu nog praktiseren er in eerste instantie meestal liever niet over praten.
Toch is voodoo vooral in de Deep South nog alom aanwezig. Soms heet het voudou, soms hoodoo en met de komst van Cubanen en Haitianen steeds vaker santerĂ­a. Ik interviewde hem over zijn fascinerende boek. Je kunt het gesprek horen op Soundcloud.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goodreads comment on "The Good Lord Bird"

You know a book is good when you get close to the end and delay finishing it because you don't want to leave the world it has created. This was how "The Good Lord Bird" affected me. McBride's genius for finding the voice, pitch and atmosphere to convey a meaning to John Brown and his raid certainly creates a "reality" for this momentous chapter in American history that the sundry facts can't quite make manifest. I certainly had not expected this achievement, given the darkly comic and over-the-top character of Onion, who in my mind, anyway, takes his place alongside or even a little above Huck Finn.Highly recommended.