Bernice Kelly Harris. Purslane. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1939.

This loosely structured novel made a big splash when it was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1939. It was a departure from the academic nonfiction typically published by UNC Press and it was an altogether different book from the sensationalistic novels of the South put out by commercial publishers in the 1930s.

Purslane is set in a small farming community in central North Carolina.  John and Dele Fuller and their extended family are the focus of the novel.  The hard work of farming; daily routines before rural electrification; the decisions, large  and small, that set the course of each person’s life; and the ties that bind individuals to their kin and the community fill the pages of the novel.  Portrayals of the events of the community–church picnics, corn huskings, coon hunts, hog killings–give readers a rich picture of a culture that has slipped away during our parents’ lifetimes.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1930-1939, 1939, Harris, Bernice Kelly, Piedmont, Wake

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