- So Late This Year (1970)
Fred Ray Blocker was born in Leake County, Mississippi in 1924. He received a B. S. from East Central Jr., and a B. A. degree from Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. He taught in the public schools in Mississippi for twenty years. In addition, he also worked with 4-H Clubs and the poverty program. He lived in Edinburg, Mississippi, where he retired to write. His first book, So Late This Year, was published in 1970 by Vantage Press and is dedicated to his former students. His niece Tamra Blocker, a junior at Starkville High School, has worked on these some of these web pages. Fred Ray Blocker died in 1994.
Blocker’s novel is set in Mississippi in the latter part of the Civil War. Although the war seldom is directly part of the plot, nothing happens that isn’t caused by or affected by the war. A gracious mode of living is going into decline in the story while other parts of society are rising in importance. The changing class roles among the white folk are significant in the plot, but race relations also play a part.
The plantation home of the Wadsworths, called “Tranquil Acres,” is peopled by a family of highly individualized characters. In the community itself, heated passions prevail. Rape, lynching, mindless violence occur in an atmosphere which seems to make them inevitable. As Judge Weathersby says in the book, “Even Eden had its problems.” A character named Carl Harding appears as the catalyst to tie up loose ends. To some he is an angel, but to others he is a devil. He comes complete with a letter of introduction from Jefferson Davis as well as one from Abraham Lincoln to save the day.
Blocker, Fred Ray. So Late This Year. New York: Vantage Press, 1970.