Synopses & Reviews
A celebrated novelist, Lee Smith is likewise recognized as a master of the short story and has been compared with such luminaries as Katherine Ann Porter, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O'Connor. Now she collects fourteen stories-seven brand-new ones along with seven favorites from her three earlier collections. The result? A book of dazzling richness.
Famous for unmistakable voices and a craft so strong and sure it seems effortless, Lee Smith's stories strike dead center at the turning points of her characters' lives. Here those characters range from an eight-year-old boy obsessed with vocabulary words to a young bride who has married way up to Mrs. Darcy herself, an older woman making it through widowhood her own way. As the New York Times Book Review put it, In almost every one of her stories] there is a moment of vision, or love, or unclothed wonder that transforms something plain into something transcendent.
With this collection-her first in thirteen years-Smith reclaims her place as the reigning queen of the bittersweet short story.
"Smith slips effortlessly into the voices of her funny, smarter-than-they-look characters in her latest collection (after News of the Spirit), containing a handful of new works among some old favorites. In 'Toastmaster,' a family's dinner outing is parsed from the point of view of a brainy 11-year-old who sees through the motivations of his flaky mother and demonstrates his powers of observation when a group of joking, drunken men enter the restaurant. Similarly, 'Big Girl' allows an overweight wife who has sacrificed everything for her awful husband to tell her story while attaining the ultimate emancipation. Each tale is beautifully honed and captures in subtle detail and gentle irony the essential humanity of characters who might initially strike the reader as superficial or unsympathetic. 'House Tour,' for instance, finds a cynical wife and mother contemplating her possible alcoholism when her house is overrun by an endearing group of similarly life-worn but irrepressible women who mistake her house for one on their home tour. Other tales about indomitable wives and mothers will be familiar to Smith's fans and round out this thoroughly enjoyable collection." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Smith's heroines find strength in the moments that push us all forward." --People
, four stars
"Smith's character-driven tales are funny, touching and resonant, with a quirky honesty. A southern-fried charmer!" --Family Circle
"Smith also has a soft spot for incorrigibles like the dyspeptic ex-writer of "House Tour," who resists playing reindeer games with the local philistines at Christmas, or the former teacher in "The Happy Memories Club," who refuses to placate an amateur writing group that appears to prefer its fare upbeat and scrubby-clean. Smith's book, you suspect, is the one those club members would sneak under their bedcovers to read by penlight." --New York Times Book Review
New York Times Book Review
"Like Chekhov, Smith can lay out a world of social and personal connections in a few pages. Her new collection, mingling seven previously published short stories with seven new pieces, offers a marvelous panorama of Smith's achievement over four decades. It's funny, shrewd and heartbreaking--often all three at once." --AARP The Magazine
AARP The Magazine
"Lee Smith has long had a reputation as a master of the short story, and her new collection . . . galvanizes that reputation . . . Smith offers the grit of the domestic scene, the power of the written word, and the transcendent beauty of women as friends, lovers, daughters and mothers." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A marvelous panorama of Smith's achievement over four decades. It's funny, shrewd, and heartbreaking--often all three at once." --AARP
In almost every one of [Smith's short stories] there is a moment of vision, or love, or unclothed wonder that transforms something plain into something transcendent.--"New York Times Book Review."
Lee Smith is a "teller of tales for tale tellers to admire and envy . . . [and] a reader's dream" (Houston Chronicle). A celebrated and bestselling writer with a dozen novels under her name, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, and The Last Girls, she is just as widely recognized for her exceptional short stories. Here, in Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger, Smith collects seven brand-new stories along with seven of her favorites from three earlier collections. The result? A book of dazzling richness. As the New York Times Book Review put it, "In al- most every one of [her stories] there is a moment of vision, or love, or unclothed wonder that transforms something plain into something transcendent."
About the Author
Lee Smith is the author of sixteen previous books of fiction, including the bestselling novels Fair and Tender Ladies and The Last Girls, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Also the recipient of the 1999 Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.&