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Victory Over Japanby Ellen Gilchrist
Winner of the 1984 National Book Award.
Synopses & Reviews
This collection of 14 short stories won the American Book Award for fiction when it was published and confirmed the author's reputation as one of the preeminent literary talents of her generation.
Ellen Gilchrist creates an unforgettable group of Southern women, enchanted and enchanting, who cavort through life, in and out of bars, marriages, and divorces, through the world of art and culture, drug busts, lovers' arms, and even earthquakes, in an attempt to find, if not happiness, at least some satisfaction. Throughout these stories, one hears echoes of Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty, but Ms. Gilchrist has her own unique literary voice and it is outrageously funny, moving, tragic, and always appealing.
"What comes through best is the infectious, languorous accent of the Delta. The plots are charming too, indulgently furnished as they are with drink, drugs, 'Crab Thibodeaux and Shrimp Mousse and Softshell Crabs Richard,' and more money than people know what to do with. Erratic and partial as Gilchrist's style is, the drawly 'whyyyyyy not' world of the modern South which she creates is a great pleasure to visit." David Sexton, The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
"Why, I began to wonder, near the end of Ellen Gilchrist's new collection of stories why are some of these stories such a pleasure, and others so unsatisfying?....Her style has a lot to do with it. Her sentences are utterly unadorned, and would seem banal, were they not joined together in lively, expertly modulated rhythms. It's a style well-suited to wit and surprise but ill-equipped for expansion and reflection, the 'how come?' that sad stories require....It's hard to care about Nora Jane, who's pregnant, unwed, and unsure of the father; or about Miss Crystal, who's an alcoholic and a marriage wrecker. Their mistakes have no consequences and therefore seem trivial. If fancy alone made fiction good, then Gilchrist would be a master. Her stories are full of hilarious antics. But we want to know more than what happened. We want her to suggest why." John Seabrook, The Christian Science Monitor (Eastern edition)
"The stories are wonderful to tell aloud....Gilchrist once again demonstrates not only her willingness to take risks, but her generosity as a writer as well." The New York Times
"This book is a delight. Once you meet Gilchrist's characters, you want to know them better. The only thing wrong with Gilchrist's collection is that it had to end." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Gilchrist's writing is funny, wise, and wonderful. There are plenty of small, goofy victories for us to cheer at in this book. That's good news for all of us who wish these stories could go on and on." USA Today
"Ellen Gilchrist is terrific." Norman Mailer
"To say that Ellen Gilchrist can write is to say that Placido Domingo can sing....No kidding: Victory Over Japan is a knockout." Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
About the Author
Ellen Gilchrist is the critically acclaimed author of a number of short story collections and novels. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
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