In Meander Belt M. Randal O'Wain offers a reflection on
how a working-class boy from Memphis, Tennessee, came to fall in
love with language, reading, writing, and the larger world outside
of the American South. This memoir examines what it means for the
son of a carpenter to value mental rather than physical
labor and what this does to his relationship with his family,
whose livelihood and sensibility are decidedly blue collar.
Straining the father-son bond further, O'Wain leaves home to find a
life outside Memphis, roaming from place to place, finding odd
jobs, and touring with his band. From memory and observation,
O'Wain assembles a subtle and spare portrait of his roots, family,
and ultimately discovers that his working-class upbringing is not
so antithetical to the man he has become.