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Ellen Gilchrist: Collected Stories

by

Ellen Gilchrist: Collected Stories Cover

 

Awards

A New York Times Notable Book of 2001.

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Suffused with wit, irony, and the bittersweet complications of love, the writings of Ellen Gilchrist occupy a unique place in American fiction. From early novels such as The Annunciation to recent story collections such as Flights of Angels, Gilchrist writes with a keen insight into the foibles of human nature, while narrating the off-kilter lives of her delightfully eccentric and unforgettable characters. The stories in this volume, selected by Gilchrist herself, constitute the best — and best-loved — work of one of the finest storytellers in modern southern literature.

Review:

"Every story is crisp, biting, and deceptively simple....Ellen Gilchrist deserves to be celebrated among the first rank of American writers." Joan Mellen, Baltimore Sun

Review:

"This thick sampling of Gilchrist's work over two decades gives plenty of scope for tracking her recurrent Southern heroines through her recurrent theme: that we are saved from regret and free-floating cynicism by the wonders of chance and love." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Gilchrist's characters are real to her, as is evidenced by the selections she has made from seven previous works to include in this collection. She has imagined entire lives, and her stories visit and revisit them at various points from childhood to late middle age. These characters have networks of relatives and friends, some of whom pop up unexpectedly in other stories. Readers will enjoy getting to know the irrepressible Rhoda Manning and her brother and cousins, Nora Jane and her twins, Miss Crystal and her chatty maid Traceleen. Gilchrist is an important voice in contemporary Southern fiction, and this book belongs in every library." Library Journal

Review:

"Gilchrist's stories are compulsively readable, often memorable, and particularly well suited to an omnibus collection....Collectively, these stories offer a rare combination of page-turning entertainment with provocative insights on the nature and challenge of happiness." Scott Lelbs, San Diego Union-Tribune

Review:

"The varied stories in this collection demonstrate Gilchrist's nearly limitless range....Each is still as charged and crackling with its own centrifugal emotion as the day it was written." Tommy Hays, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Review:

"Gilchrist's celebrated writing life began with a book of short stories, In the Land of the Dreamy Dreams, and her second collection, Victory over Japan, won the 1985 National Book Award. She has switched back and forth between novels and short stories ever since, and her dulcet yet tensile voice has become an integral part of American literature. Gilchrist has now selected 34 of her favorite stories from seven collections to create a potent and pleasingly cohesive volume that showcases her deep sense of place and, the most salient feature of her work, her lusty, unpredictable, and unapologetic heroines. Gilchrist's women have refused to be contained within single stories. No matter how often she finds someone new to write about, and how far away she moves from the settings she knows best, and which she so affectionately yet critically portrays, such as Fayetteville, Arkansas, and New Orleans, her feisty and outspoken heroines track her down and insist on continuing their lives....In each intriguing tale, Gilchrist brilliantly illuminates some quirky aspect of human nature, whether it's the territorial instinct at work in a snooty tennis club, the need for poetry and music, marital friction, the complexities of race, or the mysteries of love, all the while granting readers the boon of her humor, wisdom, and beautifully crafted prose." Donna Seaman, Booklist

Review:

"Gilchrist is one of the finest writers of a rare species: the happy story." Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"A selection of short stories, chosen by Gilchrist herself from every period of her career: one of those authoritative 'big books' meant to be a compilation of the best that has gone before rather than something new. Anyone who's familiar with Gilchrist will find her usual themes — Southern bonhomie, wistful middle-aged lust, and lyric humor — in abundance from the very earliest pieces (The Land of Dreamy Dreams, 1985) to the most recent (Flights of Angels, 1998). Since this is obviously a volume aimed at fans, most of the quibbles it arouses will be over what's left out rather than what's included....Still, the 34 stories that do make the cut have enough familiar faces to satisfy most loyal followers. Prime cuts of choice prose." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[W]hatever their shortcomings, [Gilchrist's characters] always have a keen sense of who they are....Wealthy or dirt poor, these characters share an invigorating sense of finding something to savor in their circumstances. Gilchrist makes harmony and generosity inherently suspenseful, because once such blessings appear we become anxious for them to continue. We read, too, for the pleasure of recognition, for the rapid, easy perfection with which Gilchrist establishes a scene. With thirty-four stories weighing in at over 500 pages, no one could call this a slim volume, and yet the recollection of other wonderful stories necessarily omitted bring to mind the words of Jane Austen: 'If a book is well written, I always find it too short.' By that measure this collection is short indeed." Penelope Mesic, Book Magazine

Review:

"Few writers are as adept at spinning funny, slyly insightful tales that radiate outward like tiny satellites, orbiting a fictional universe that mirrors the more unpredictable and tellingly human moments in our own." New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

With the publication of 1983's The Annunciation, Ellen Gilchrist established herself as a teller of charming, bittersweet tales of the modern South.

About the Author

Ellen Gilchrist is the author of seventeen works of fiction, including the story collection Victory Over Japan, which won the National Book Award, and, most recently, The Cabal and Other Stories and the forthcoming I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy and Other Stories. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas; Ocean Springs, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Table of Contents

The Famous Poll at Jody's Bar 3
Revenge 16
There's a Garden of Eden 32
In the Land of Dreamy Dreams 44
1944 58
Summer, and Elegy 63
Victory Over Japan 80
Music 92
Jade Buddhas, Red Bridges, Fruits of Love 121
Miss Crystal's Maid Name Traceleen, She's Talking, She's Telling Everything She Knows 141
Traceleen, She's Still Talking 154
Drunk With Love 178
The Young Man 198
Traceleen at Dawn 207
Anna, Part 1 222
Some Blue Hills at Sundown 239
The Starlight Express 244
Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle 267
Traceleen Turns East 291
Mexico 304
A Statue of Aphrodite 369
Among the Mourners 387
The Stucco House 399
The Uninsured 416
Perhaps a Miracle 426
Lunch at the Best Restaurant in the World 434
You Must Change Your Life 441
The Brown Cape 468
Fort Smith 495
A Prologue 505
A Tree to Be Desired 507
Witness to the Crucifixion 527
A Lady with Pearls 537
The Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor 542

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316193658
Author:
Gilchrist, Ellen
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
Southern states
Subject:
Southern States Social life and customs.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st paperback ed.
Publication Date:
December 2001
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1.5 in 1.17 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Ellen Gilchrist: Collected Stories Used Trade Paper
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Product details 576 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316193658 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Every story is crisp, biting, and deceptively simple....Ellen Gilchrist deserves to be celebrated among the first rank of American writers."
"Review" by , "This thick sampling of Gilchrist's work over two decades gives plenty of scope for tracking her recurrent Southern heroines through her recurrent theme: that we are saved from regret and free-floating cynicism by the wonders of chance and love."
"Review" by , "Gilchrist's characters are real to her, as is evidenced by the selections she has made from seven previous works to include in this collection. She has imagined entire lives, and her stories visit and revisit them at various points from childhood to late middle age. These characters have networks of relatives and friends, some of whom pop up unexpectedly in other stories. Readers will enjoy getting to know the irrepressible Rhoda Manning and her brother and cousins, Nora Jane and her twins, Miss Crystal and her chatty maid Traceleen. Gilchrist is an important voice in contemporary Southern fiction, and this book belongs in every library."
"Review" by , "Gilchrist's stories are compulsively readable, often memorable, and particularly well suited to an omnibus collection....Collectively, these stories offer a rare combination of page-turning entertainment with provocative insights on the nature and challenge of happiness."
"Review" by , "The varied stories in this collection demonstrate Gilchrist's nearly limitless range....Each is still as charged and crackling with its own centrifugal emotion as the day it was written."
"Review" by , "Gilchrist's celebrated writing life began with a book of short stories, In the Land of the Dreamy Dreams, and her second collection, Victory over Japan, won the 1985 National Book Award. She has switched back and forth between novels and short stories ever since, and her dulcet yet tensile voice has become an integral part of American literature. Gilchrist has now selected 34 of her favorite stories from seven collections to create a potent and pleasingly cohesive volume that showcases her deep sense of place and, the most salient feature of her work, her lusty, unpredictable, and unapologetic heroines. Gilchrist's women have refused to be contained within single stories. No matter how often she finds someone new to write about, and how far away she moves from the settings she knows best, and which she so affectionately yet critically portrays, such as Fayetteville, Arkansas, and New Orleans, her feisty and outspoken heroines track her down and insist on continuing their lives....In each intriguing tale, Gilchrist brilliantly illuminates some quirky aspect of human nature, whether it's the territorial instinct at work in a snooty tennis club, the need for poetry and music, marital friction, the complexities of race, or the mysteries of love, all the while granting readers the boon of her humor, wisdom, and beautifully crafted prose."
"Review" by , "Gilchrist is one of the finest writers of a rare species: the happy story."
"Review" by , "A selection of short stories, chosen by Gilchrist herself from every period of her career: one of those authoritative 'big books' meant to be a compilation of the best that has gone before rather than something new. Anyone who's familiar with Gilchrist will find her usual themes — Southern bonhomie, wistful middle-aged lust, and lyric humor — in abundance from the very earliest pieces (The Land of Dreamy Dreams, 1985) to the most recent (Flights of Angels, 1998). Since this is obviously a volume aimed at fans, most of the quibbles it arouses will be over what's left out rather than what's included....Still, the 34 stories that do make the cut have enough familiar faces to satisfy most loyal followers. Prime cuts of choice prose."
"Review" by , "[W]hatever their shortcomings, [Gilchrist's characters] always have a keen sense of who they are....Wealthy or dirt poor, these characters share an invigorating sense of finding something to savor in their circumstances. Gilchrist makes harmony and generosity inherently suspenseful, because once such blessings appear we become anxious for them to continue. We read, too, for the pleasure of recognition, for the rapid, easy perfection with which Gilchrist establishes a scene. With thirty-four stories weighing in at over 500 pages, no one could call this a slim volume, and yet the recollection of other wonderful stories necessarily omitted bring to mind the words of Jane Austen: 'If a book is well written, I always find it too short.' By that measure this collection is short indeed."
"Review" by , "Few writers are as adept at spinning funny, slyly insightful tales that radiate outward like tiny satellites, orbiting a fictional universe that mirrors the more unpredictable and tellingly human moments in our own."
"Synopsis" by , With the publication of 1983's The Annunciation, Ellen Gilchrist established herself as a teller of charming, bittersweet tales of the modern South.
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