NATCHEZ, Miss. (WJTV) – Writer Richard Grant defined the Mississippi Delta in his book Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta. He wrote the book while living at Pluto Plantation, which is where the name comes from.
Grant is from England, so he was able to take a look at the Delta with a fresh pair of eyes and set it down on paper for us. I interviewed him for a “Mississippi Roads” show about the Delta. As we were chatting afterwards, he said he was writing a similar book about Natchez.
Anyone who has been to Natchez and has had just a brush with the undercurrents of the city knows there’s a lot beneath the surface there. Knowing what Grant accomplished defining the Delta, I was excited about him delving into Natchez.
He finished the book, and it’s been finished for a while. I’m a slow reader. The book is called The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi.
For me, reading the book is like watching a movie that was made locally. You’re not only interested in the story, but at the same time, you watch for people you might know who are in it. It’s the same with the book. I know a lot of the people he interviewed. I’ve had some of them in my stories from Natchez, and every time I have ever interviewed anyone in the city, I have always felt like they had a lot more to say, and most of them wanted to say it.
Grant gets them to spill the beans in the book. It’s a frank look at a city coming to grips with itself and its past. It’s beginning to open all of the closets and let out the skeletons and the ghosts.
To me, it’s a love story; tough love in some instances. But it’s the kind of story that must be told. If you want to know more about Mississippi, then this is a must read.