James W. Hall is the critically acclaimed author of eleven crime novels, including Body Language and Blackwater Sound. He's also published four books of poetry. And several of his short stories have appeared in magazines like the Georgia Review and Kenyon Review.
Now, writing in the spirit of Dave Barry and Garrison Keillor, Hall wins a new kind of reader with this collection of essays that run from insightful to opinionated, funny to wise.
Hall ponders subjects as diverse as his own love affair with Florida which began on a trip after college from which he never returned, to his equally passionate romance with books. He ponders the nature of summer heat, the writing of Hemingway and James Dickey, television, teaching, politics, fatherhood and much more. In the vibrant and elegant prose which characterize his fiction and poetry, Hall now proves himself a master of the essay as well.
He's probably not the spokesperson the South Florida tourism council had in mind, but his new collection of 40 brisk, witty essays proves that poet and crime novelist James W. Hall (Blackwater Sound) is one of the region's biggest and most thoughtful boosters. Hot Damn!: Alligators in the Casino, Nude Women in the Grass, How Seashells Changed the Course of History, and Other Dispatches from Paradise includes pieces on television, heat waves, hurricanes and, of course, the writing life, all set against the backdrop of his beloved adopted state. Hall confesses a deep-seated envy of Florida natives; traces the epidemiology of suburban sprawl in "Disney Virus"; and recounts his wife's violent carjacking.