Books: Bourbon & Magnolias

TIGER IN THE GARDEN (278 pp.)—Speed Lamkin—Houghton Mifflin ($3).

The advice most commonly dished out to hopeful writers by their literary elders is: write only about the things you know. It is perfectly good advice, as sound as it is trite, but sometimes discouraging to youngsters who discover that what they know has long been grist for other writers' mills. Young (22) Louisiana-born, Harvard-bred Speed Lamkin knows a lot about the decline and decay of the old plantation set, who made small talk while energetic commoners made big money and powered the New South. In his first novel, Tiger in the Garden,...

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