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They Don't Dance Much


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Enthusiastically praised by Raymond Chandler, Flannery O'Connor, and William Gay, this classic country noir is set in a small town where unbridled greed leads to a brutal murder.

About the Author

James Ross (1911-1990) was born in North Carolina, where he worked as a reporter for the Daily News (Greensboro) for many years. He wrote his first and only novel, They Don't Dance Much, in 1940. The book, considered "country noir," was praised by the likes of Raymond Chandler and Flannery O'Connor. During the decade that followed, Ross published several short stories in literary journals such as Partisan Review, the Sewanee Review, Collier's, and Argosy while he worked on another novel, In The Red, which was never published.


"A sleazy, corrupt but completely believable story of a North Carolina town." -Raymond Chandler "A very fine book." -Flannery O'Connor "[Ross] showed us that a writer can come out of the red-clay gulches of rural North Carolina during the Depression-that is, a writer can come out of absolutely anywhere at any time-and make high art without resorting to tricks, stylish ennui or pointless savagery." -The Millions "Ross writes in classically laconic, wised-up American prose. His voice suits then and now and will still carry well tomorrow." -Daniel Woodrell "As far as I'm concerned, this book is where dark Southern fiction began, and any writer who works in the field owes Ross a debt of gratitude, whether he or she has read They Don't Dance Much or not." -William Gay "In and out of print since it was first published in 1940, this blistering novel about a rural Carolina roadhouse with a dance floor is packed with enough desperate characters to make murder merely inevitable, but no less horrifying." -Newsweek

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