Hollye reviews Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant, Simon and Schuster, 2015.

Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a tiny apartment in New York, but on a whim, they decided to buy a plantation home in the Mississippi Delta.  Dispatches from Pluto is a winner of the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize and is their journey of discovery into this strange but wonderful American place.  Imagine the book Midnight in the Garden of of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining.

On a remote strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on their new life.  They learn how to grow their own food, hunt, as well as scare off alligators, snakes, and other country animals. They become friends with locals- blues singer T-Model Ford, cookbook author Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and even actor Morgan Freeman.  Grant’s writing captures the culture of the Delta and the fascinating people he meets.  He describes the racial tensions from an outsiders’ perspective.

Grant learns to love the Mississippi Delta.  He and his girlfriend learn to love this quirky community. He learns to settle down and love his old plantation home.

I laughed a lot during this book.  Growing up in the South; I have met a lot of interesting characters myself. I can only imagine a New Yorker’s  meeting some of these characters. I see the racial tensions in the Delta. I don’t quite understand it, but I see it.  I try to see a Northerner looking at Southerners and just grin and shake my head, and say, “Bless their hearts.”