Books: Tall Tales

AIRSHIPS by Barry Hannah Knopf; 209 pages; $8.95

With Geronimo Rex (1972), Barry Hannah emerged as a first novelist with an innate gift for gab. His mockepic saga of growing up wacky during the '50s and '60s hummed down the groove of black humor but spun with Southern English. Hannah revealed an ear for the palaver that still goes on around Confederate monuments, as well as for the eloquent cadences of Faulkner and Joyce.

Talents as broad and wide as this thrive in novels but rarely take to the more constricting form of the short...

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