South Wind Rising
By Frederick W. Bassett
reviewed by Erin Z. Bass
The first book in a projected trilogy, “South Wind Rising” is Roanoke, Alabama, native Fred Bassett’s debut novel. An award-winning poet, Bassett proves with this book that he’s also a great storyteller who has no problem mastering long-form prose.
A true “coming of age” story about growing up in rural Alabama, “South Wind Rising” details the adventures and heartaches of schoolboy Barsh Roberts as he frequents the local swimming hole, takes off on weeklong camping trips, falls in love and ultimately becomes a man.
Set in 1949, “South Wind Rising” depicts life during a simpler time in the South. School days turn into summer, drives are taken on Sundays, and there’s always steaming biscuits on the breakfast table. But Barsh longs for days gone by, before the longleaf pines were cut and living off the land was the norm.
“I can’t imagine a better place in the whole world to camp. It’s got a big creek filled with fish. And all these giant trees. Sometimes I wish I’d been born a long time ago when you could live your whole life in a forest like this.”
As different characters, from older boy Wesley Workman, who brags about his conquests with girls, to wise camping companion Coon Peters, childhood sweetheart Amy and promiscuous friend Karen, come and go, Barsh learns some important life lessons and begins to grow into his old soul.
“South Wind Rising” is available on amazon.com. Fred Bassett lives with his wife in Greenwood, South Carolina, and is an award-winning poet and Biblical scholar. His poems have been published in more than 50 journals and anthologies, and his latest book of poetry, “The Old Stoic Faces the Mirror: A Life in Poems,” was released last July. Two of his poems can also be found in our Southern Voice section.