Before Ruby Red, William Price Fox published two collections of short stories and two novels. The stories [collected in Southern Fried and Southern Fried Plus Six] … are excellent. In them, Fox moves through the slums of his native Columbia, South Carolina, with much ease and little pretension, producing several memorable "characters" and a number of good, quick scenes that allow no room for the sentimentality that often turns up in stories of the reminiscence variety. The novels, though, are far from being successful. Dr. Golf … is a disastrous collection of golf jokes in the form of an advice column. Only the most dedicated golfer would be entertained by it; but dedicated golfers, I bet, have heard most of the jokes. Moonshine Light, Moonshine Bright … gets things back to Columbia's slums. It concerns two adolescents … who have much time and little money on hand for the summer…. [The slums produce] good "characters" and tales, but the author has trouble hanging them together. For long stretches, the book loses track of Earl and Coley and their Hudson while Fox digresses nostalgically on growing up in Columbia and on various characters who wander in and out of the narrative. I think that Moonshine might have been better off as half a dozen stories and sketches than as novel. For that matter, these two novels make one wonder why Fox turned away from short fiction.
(The entire section is 538 words.)