Books: A Listener's Comments

FAREWELL TO THE SOUTH

by ROBERT COLES 408 pages. Atlantic-Little, Brown. $7.95.

"Anything that comes out of the South," the late Flannery O'Connor once observed, "is going to be called grotesque by the Northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic." Digging behind all the grotesque, realistic "Gone-with-the-Tobacco-Road" cliches, slowly and painstakingly detailing the ambiguous Southern actuality—this has been Robert Coles' work in progress for more than a decade. In the three volumes of his Children of Crisis series, completed earlier this year, he has documented, mostly in their own words, the destinies of families...