Long George Alley

Written by Richard Hall
Review by Marcia K. Matthews

A chorus of voices revolves, each taking a turn to reveal the story of Long George Alley, a black ghetto in Mississippi. There’s Cal, angry and profane; Rice, an educated New Yorker seeking his roots; Cates, the white Civil Rights worker who hears a different drummer; Parnell, the idealistic college girl who flirts with Rice; and Zenola, the evil janitor at the jail. Richard Hall gives everyone a chance to drive the story, and achieves a Faulkneresque realism with his ability to identify with each character’s wants, needs and limitations. Rice hears “the sixties scudding out of slumber and spilling over the lip of its decade….” Hall’s lyrical writing uses metaphor to give an abstract concept the truth of poetry. Like James Joyce, Hall can pack a lot into one day. Each character has a different take on the upcoming demonstration, marching to integrate the white country club at Duncan Park. Each person’s insanity distorts events into a slow-motion train wreck on a day that will change, or end, their lives.