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I read this book many years ago and truly loved it, so I particularly enjoyed your review. Summons to Memphis was my first exposure to Peter Taylor's works; i liked it so much I went on to read Woman of Means and In the Tennessee County, his other two novels (there may be others that I'm not aware of), as well as many of his short stories. Taylor is an elegant writer and I'm a total sucker for that elegiac tone of his, as well as his minutely observed portrayal of a small segment of the southern ruling class (who else would draw a distinction between Memphis and Nashville society?). Although I enjoyed the other things of his that I read, however, I must say that I though Summons the best. I'll look forward to seeing whether your reaction matches mine!


This is one of those books I bought on a whim a long time ago but never picked it up. What a shame, it seems, you make it sound so good. Deep, complex, nostalgic, everything I like.
I've read some of Eudora Welty's short stories and she is excellent. I've got one novel here and that sounds equally good.
This is going to make your 2013 list, I guess. :)

Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis

Thank you for this introduction to Peter Taylor. His work sounds wonderful and, judging from the excerpts, of a style I love to read. He's just earned a (rather high) place on my TBR wish list.


I wonder why this book isn't more well known? A Pulitzer and story that sounds rich and complex. I'll have to be sure it gets put in a more noticeable spot on my reading list!


Yup--sounds like me--As I was reading I was so impressed that I knew I wanted to read more so bought the two books you mention plus one of his short story collections! He is very elegant and I love that style of writing--I don't think he wrote for The New Yorker, but I sort of classify him in that same group of writers that contains William Maxwell and Wallace Stegner and the like--beautiful prose--simple yet elegant. You describe the tone perfectly--he captures that segment of Tennessee society perfectly--vividly. If you like Peter Taylor and you've not yet read him I totally recommend William McPherson--it's McPherson who pointed me in Taylor's direction. I'm curious about the other books, though might be a tiny bit disappointed if I have read his best (still with an author like Taylor--I have a feeling second best will still be head and shoulders above most of the rest of the books out there these days).


Yes, I think it will very likely make my best reads list--I was even going to mention that but then I feel like I say that about every really good book I read--and I've had a good run of books this year, even if I feel like I am reading much less (or at least finishing far fewer books) than in previous years. I hope you still have it and will eventually pick it up--I think you will like it. I've only read one of Eudora Welty's books--a lesser known one and I liked it--really want to read more of her work now, too.


Yes, he is really excellent and an author I can very much recommend. It's just the exact style of writing that I love the best, I think. Beautiful prose--simple yet elegant. Glad to hear he's been added to your wishlist!


Yes, he really should be better known. I am looking forward to reading another of his books--or maybe will try a few short stories in the interim. Bump him up to the top of your list! (Along with Dorothy Whipple and Mollie Panter-Downes! ;) ).


Oh dear, I can feel my fingers itching to visit amazon already. This is exactly the kind of book I love - and such a wonderful review!


I have a feeling you would like Peter Taylor, too. I am already looking forward to reading another one of his books!

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