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tinct personality and they all talk. Our anti-hero Eduardo and his band of scaly friends terrorize the city of San Salvador leaving mayhem and dead bodies in their wake as the police attempt to catch up with them. Moya is Salvadoran and the novel is a savage metaphor of life during the days of the death squads. Very funny and often discomfiting, it’s a slithering, hissing, beyondblack-humored satire of violence and a society trying to make sense of chaos, and it culminates in a man-on-snake orgy that really has to be read to be believed. Not all snakes slither through creeks or under porches; many walk on two legs among us, don tailored suits and run our country. In Drift (Broadway Books, $15), Rachel Maddow explores how our populace’s insulation from the horrors of war, and therefore ignorance of its true cost, combined with military contracting and the serpentine politicians whose campaign coffers are filled by war machine industries, have lured us into a perpetual state of war. Overall an impeccably researched, eye opening read. Snakes get blamed for everything! Long before Adam and Eve’s story was ever recorded, The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin, $11) featured its own sneaky serpent. After the heroic Gilgamesh — two-thirds man and one-third god — travels to depths unknown, through innumerable gatekeepers and guardians of the afterlife, to obtain a flower of immortality, a single snake eats the sacred sapling and ruins everything! Snakes need better publicists. You know who else needs a better publicist? North Carolina’s No. 1 snake, the aforementioned John Edwards. Sen. John McCain once said of Edwards’s 2004 book Four Trials (Simon & Schuster, $13), “John reveals the strength of his own character and gives the reader a look beyond a political biography into the heart of a good man.” And maybe you thought selecting Sarah Palin showed bad judgment. But let’s end with a better Southern story, or at least better writing. The low as dirt characters in A Feast of Snakes (Scribner, $13.99), by Harry Crews, enjoy a good rattlesnake for breakfast, and the day goes downhill from there. The novel is set during a Rattlesnake Roundup in Mystic, Georgia, and Crews makes a solid case for the snake as superior creature — it’s certainly much less mean and cruel than this brand of Florida/Georgia human. We end with an impassioned plea for the snake. Let them live! Even the venomous ones are quite beneficial in the big picture. And we find them all quite beautiful in their new bright summer skins. b This month’s Scuppernong Bookshelf was written by Shannon Jones, Jonas Procton, Brian Lampkin, Rachel York and Steve Mitchell.
Salt • August 2015
The Art & Soul of Wilmington
The Art & Soul of Wilmington