I'm sure I remember Maggie saying that we should mention atmosphere when we talk about selections for the Southern Reading Challenge, but danged if I can find the actual post now.
So here are a couple excerpts from Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms since I spent the last post yammering about mules.
First, the view out Joel's window at the Landing:
Below, under a fiery surface of sun waves, a garden a jumbled wreckage of zebrawood and lilac, elephant-ear plant and weeping willow, the lace-leafed limp branches shimmering delicately, and dwarfed cherry trees, like those in oriental prints, sprawled raw and green in the noon heat. It was not a result of simple neglect, this tangled oblong area, but rather the outcome, it appeared, of someone having, in a riotous moment, scattered about it a wild assortment of seed. Grass and bush and vine and flower were all crushed together. Massive chinaberry and waterbay formed a rigidly enclosing wall. Now at the far end, opposite the house, was an unusual sight: like a set of fingers, a row of five white fluted columns lent the garden the primitive, haunted look of a lost ruin: Judas vine snaked up their toppling slenderness, and a yellow tabby cat was sharpening its claws against the middle column.
And when Joel is first told the story of the abandoned Cloud Hotel:
Drownin Pond. That was the name colored folks gave it. Slowly old creek-slime, filtering though the limestone springs, had dyed the water an evil color; the lawns, the road, the paths all turned wild; the wide veranda caved in; the chimneys sank low in the swampy earth; storm-uprooted trees leaned against the porch; and water-snakes slithering across the strings made night-songs on the ballroom's decaying piano. It was a terrible, strange-looking hotel. But Little Sunshine stayed on: it was his rightful home, he said, for if he went away, as he had once upon a time, other voices, other rooms, voices lost and clouded, strummed his dreams.