Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place.
On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters - blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman. Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes.
©2015 Richard Grant (P)2015 Tantor
"The result is an honest, engaging account of life in one of America's most beguiling, bewildering cultural outposts. This book is a revelation." (Alan Huffman, author of Mississippi in Africa)
I am from the Delta and returned to the South at nearly 60, so I felt lucky to get this intelligent and constructive take on its deep flaws and equally deep virtues of the region.
The reader was good, but here-as so very often with Audiobooks, I do wonder why neither the reader nor the director bothered to pick up a phones , call a local library and learn how to pronounce the names of the places in which they purport to live. I find it sloppy and almost insulting to both listeners and the natives of whatever area or city the mispronunciation a affect. This is so common that I feel a bit uneasy about complaining of this otherwise fine rendition. But the reader did manage to mangle almost every place name he mentioned, and I found this so irritating that it bit into my pleasure and my ability to focus on the writer's words. Audible, please tell someone to pick up a phone for place names -or a dictionary in the case of unfamiliar words-so that pronunciations are correct. Aren't these people supposed to be professionals?
Living in MS I am very familiar with this area. If you are going to narrate the book you should learn to correctly pronounce the locations. It was hard for me to finish the book after hearing all of the flaws in his performance.
I would recommend the book with reservations. The story is wonderful. It is well written and I learned a lot about life in Mississippi.
I loved hearing about life in Mississippi.
The reader's delivery is so annoying that if it weren't for the excellent content of the story I was tempted to stop listening. His style is that of a valley girl with an uplift at the end of every single sentence!
A librarian in a small Alabama town on a great big lake.
I grew up in the Mississippi Delta. I loved this book. It captured the Delta in all its glory and anguish. Yes, it is as flawed and as beautiful as this book depicts. I am proud of my birthplace and am thrilled that Richard Grant has written this fabulous book. Enjoy!!
The narrator shouldn't have tried to do a Mississippi drawl and should have done his homework about pronunciation of places, but if you can get past his shortcomings the book is a very engrossing story. The author is an Englishman who moved to the Mississippi delta, and this is a nonfiction account of his experiences. As a recent transplant to the delta this tale was incredibly engaging. While there are plenty of details about hunting and fighting off wildlife, his discussion of the people, the challenges facing the delta, and most especially the intricacies of race and racism are truly enlightening. This book does a great job of relating a time and place through a largely objective outsider's perspective.
I guess Grant never reached Cleveland during his tour of the Delta, that vibrant community an antithesis of this liberal discourse on Mississippi race relations, overall poverty, and crumbling education. Regarding the English narrator's cadence in the audio book, it was often repetitious, and he sometimes mispronounced words including names of Mississippi counties, such as Bolivar. The narrator could have spent a little time on research in that regard. Of course, I grew up in Cleveland and Bolivar County, so I guess I'm partial. Grant's own hours spent in research and with live interviews of his subjects sets the memoir apart. His description of race relations is clear and accurate, showing that we Mississippians may actually be very high on that positive list. I envy Grant's knack to describe physical appearances and settings so beautifully although in this well-written, wonderful piece (unlike in fiction), he has the advantage of looking across the table at his real characters and breathing the true air of each setting. While the treatise on race does get long and deep, a happy ending is always a relief.
Dispatches from Pluto is an odd thing. The oddness stems, mostly, from its familiarity. To have one's culture consumed by an outsider, digested, reviewed, and regurgitated back to you is a disturbing thing.
I am a Southerner, a Mississippian in particular ( who lives not terribly far away from the very locals portrayed in the book ), and I know these people! I don't mean THESE people, but their dopplegangers for sure! Richard Grant holds up a mirror for every mississippian, to see and appreciate ourselves and our peculiar piece of ground. His observances on the states of race relations here is just as murky as the actual living breathing thing. He's not a sniffy, liberal, prude; looking only to condemn us in our ignorance, but , a not too partial observer willing to let most of the facets of the argument shine through. He offers up the delta with all of her worts showing, and lets some of her beauty and mystery reveal itself also. The performance is good, Shaun Grindell has a fine voice and was a game reader ( although, it would do him some good to listen to a few southern folk actually speak, just to get the rythms down ) . A very enjoyable experience for sure.
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