Carol Hollywell is beautiful, smart, elegant, and charming. A debutante from De Soto Point, Arkansas, and a recent graduate of Ole Miss, she is heir to a good southern name and a small southern fortune. She knows what she wants and, more important, knows how to get it. She is, in other words, the prototypical southern belle, a Scarlett O'Hara for the 1950s, and when she moves to Washington, D.C., in 1957, she sets, the town on its ear. Willie Morris' cleverly conceived and brilliantly executed novel (loosely based on a real-life figure) follows this headstrong woman from her arrival in the Capital and traces the ups and downs of her life in the political and social whirl of the city over the next decade and a half. Eventually, she becomes romantically involved with a prominent congressman - an idealist, a reformer, a man perhaps headed for the very pinnacle of political life. It is at first a dazzling alliance, yet the genuine satisfactions they find in their relationship cannot long withstand the pressures of the ambitions both of them harbor. The very drives that initially brought them together in the end propel their love affair into jeopardy. Morris paints a devastatingly accurate portrait not only of a power-hungry woman but also of the society that feeds such hunger. His descriptions of Washington and its denizens - the politicos, the journalists, the socialities, and the hangers-on - are nothing short of breathtaking.
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(230mm x 141mm x 17mm)
Louisiana State University Press
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
The last of the Southern girls who becomes almost too easily the most desirable (and recognizable?) one in Washington, D.C. is Carol Hollywell from De Soto Point, Arkansas and she has lots of style. As well as a headstrong, hoydenish independence of spirit and one of those flawless faces and figures which can't hurt, can't hurt at all, in someone who's going somewhere even if, as the years go on, it seems to be further and further away. She works for a senior Senator from Kentucky; she marries social, rich Hollywell and stays with him for eight years - there's a youngster - until he becomes just too vacuous to endure; she has an affair with an assistant to the president and is part of the White House retinue until she's dropped by both; and then she falls in love and has her first passionate and almost vulnerable experience with a freshman Congressman, Jack Winter, who is a little like her - unorthodox, offsides, until after he campaigns for a Senate seat and fails and disaffection and hesitation begin to encroach and she knows that she can never submit to becoming something less than Carol Hollywell. This isn't really just Carol's story - that of a girl for whom everything was both too attainable and too perishable; it's undershot (and here Morris is at his best) with a commemorative sense of the past and an inalienable sense of place which is never too far north from home. In all those shadows and memories, the bloom is still on the cottonwood. . . . A charmer. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Willie Morris
Willie Morris (1934--1999) was born in Yazoo CIty, Mississippi, attended the University of Texas, won a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, was editor of The Texas Observer, and in 1967 became the youngest editor in chief of Harper's in the history of the magazine. He is the author of many books, including My Dog Skip and Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood.