Synopses & Reviews
The women in the Hand family are no strangers to controversy or sadness. Those traits seem, in fact, to be a part of their family's Southern heritage, one that stretches back through several generations. For Louise Hand, it means coping with the possible loss of the young man she has improbably fallen in love with, especially now that he has vowed revenge for the injuries suffered by his twin brother in Iraq.
Winifred Hand's loss came before the war began, when her fiancé flew to New York for an early morning meeting at the World Trade enter on 9/11. Now just as she is starting to experience life again, the war once more threatens to take away what happiness she has found.
And for Olivia Hand, the strong-willed independent editor of Tulsa, Oklahoma's preeminent newspaper, the war is a subject for editorials, a far-off conflict that she can write about with both passion and detachment--until her newly wedded husband gets called up for service.
All three are reconnecting the pieces of their lives and rediscovering love. But each is unwittingly on a collision course with a seemingly distant war that is really never more than a breath away. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, A Dangerous Age is a celebration of the strength of these women and of the bonds of blood and shared loss that hold them together. Haunting and elegantly crafted, it is a wonderfully human story about the centuries-old struggle of women who are left to carry on with life when their men go off to war, by a writer the Washington Post says "should be declared a national cultural treasure."
"In the latest from Gilchrist who won the National Book Award for the 1984 story collection Victory over Japan the grand Raleigh, N.C., wedding between Winifred 'Winnie' Hand Abadie and Charles Kane is canceled when Charles perishes in the World Trade Center attacks. Winnie becomes despondent, and well-intentioned cousin Louise Hand Healy, a producer of TV documentaries, goads her to move in with her in Washington, D.C. Another cousin, Olivia Hand, is deeply committed to her job as editor of a Tulsa, Okla., newspaper and is torn between two men she loves. Gilchrist shifts uneasily among the three women's perspectives, and between the first and third person. The political commitment underscoring the novel, particularly in Olivia's scathing antiwar editorials, is deeply felt, and a nice twist is introduced when, on September 12, Charles's twin cousins, Carl and Brian, join the Marines. Gilchrist never quite brings the three female leads into narrative harmony, but she makes the age's dangers palpable." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Gilchrist andquot;gives this novel a humanity easily embraced by the reader. [Her] trademark supple prose and droll sense of humor are on full display.andquot;and#8212;Booklist, starred review
andquot;Narrated in the author's characteristically fine prose and populated by . . . sympathetic and believable characters. Recommended.andquot;and#8212;Library Journal
"Ellen Gilchrist is a wonderful writer, with a winning grace and humaneness . . . Moving and tender and tough and unsentimental at the same time." --Chicago Tribune
"Gilchrist rides the tension--between seeing events and motivations clearly and becoming clouded by personal and material concerns--on a perfect edge." --The Boston Globe
Ellen Gilchrist is one of America's most celebrated and respected authors, a classic writer in the tradition of Eudora Welty, Flannery Oand#8217;Connor, and Elizabeth Spencer. The author of more than twenty books, she was awarded the National Book Award for her short story collection Victory Over Japan
. Now, with her first novel in more than a decade, she returns in top form.
A Dangerous Agetells the story of the women of the Hand family, three cousins in a Southern dynasty rich with history and tradition who are no strangers to either controversy or sadness. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, the novel is a celebration of the strength of these women, and of others like them. In her characteristically clear and direct prose, with its wry, no-nonsense approach to the world and the people who inhabit it, Gilchrist gives voice to women on a collision course with a distant war that, in truth, is never more than a breath away.
As the Washington Posthas said, andquot;To say that Ellen Gilchrist can write is to say that Placido Domingo can sing. All you need to do is listen.andquot;
The winner of the National Book Award returns with a moving story of a family of women drawn together by the trials of the times.
The women in the Hand family are no strangers to either controversy or sadness. Those traits seem, in fact, to be a part of their family's heritage, one that stretches back through several generations and many wars. A Dangerous Age is a celebration of the strength of these women and of the bonds of blood and shared loss that hold them together. Louise, Winifred, and Olivia are reconnecting the pieces of their lives and rediscovering love, but each is unwittingly on a collision course with a seemingly distant war that is really never more than a breath away. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, this finely honed novel about the centuries-old struggle for women who are left to carry on with life when their men go off to war is by a writer the Washington Post says "should be declared a national cultural treasure."
About the Author
Ellen Gilchrist, winner of the National Book Award for Victory Over Japan, is the author of more than twenty books, including novels, short stories, poetry, and a memoir. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.