A Writers Writer – Doug Marlette


“Even after decades of neglect its natural charm and loveliness shone through like the features of a bereaved beauty through a widow’s veil.” 

From the novel, The Bridge by Doug Marlette, writing about Oaklawn

I lived for a number of years not too far from Hillsbourgh, NC, Doug Marlette’s home. As a writer, I was familiar with his name, but had never read either of his two novels until now. Marlette was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist turned novelist. He died in Mississippi, at age 58, a passenger in a pickup truck that struck a tree in heavy rain.   December 6, 1949 – July 10, 2007

Excerpt from Amazon book blurb: Pick Cantrell, a successful newspaper cartoonist whose career has hit the skids is in the grip of a midlife meltdown, returns with his wife and son to a small North Carolina town.  What follows is an extraordinary story as Pick uncovers startling truths about himself and about the role his grandmother played in the tragic General Textile Strike of 1934. A novel about family, love, and forgiveness, The Bridge explores how much we ever really know about others, and most important, about ourselves.

I can hardly put the book down. The writing is exceptional. Having walked the streets of Hillsbourgh, gone on garden tours, eaten at favorite restaurants, Christmas shopped, the setting for the book is dear to me. Eno is the fictional town in the book. Though late to the party that is Marlette’s splendid writing, here I am at last.

“The house itself was imposing, but its beauty seemed unassuming, guileless, washing over the senses like a reverie of lost southern gentility of what once was and would be no more.”

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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2 Responses to A Writers Writer – Doug Marlette

  1. pbmgarden says:

    I should pull The Bridge off the shelf again–read it long ago. Heard him speak at UNC aboutt his cartoons. Very funny and nice person.

  2. I finished it last night and my reaction to the novel when I wrote this post certainly held up. I especially appreciated the history lesson he laces into the book. I know you will enjoy it if you reread it in the by and by.

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