Books by Mississippi Writers 1996-2010



Ellen Gilchrist


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By Ellen Gilchrist Little Brown & Co. (Hardcover, $27.95, ISBN: 0316299480, 12/2000); Back Bay Books (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0316299480, 12/2001) Gilchrist's celebrated writing life began with a book of short stories, In the Land of the Dreamy Dreams (1984), 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. Here, readers first meet the fearless and competitive Rhoda Katherine Manning as an ambitious third-grader and follow her through an elegant adulthood of extravagant gestures and determined independence. Nora Jane Whittington, a self-declared anarchist, leaves New Orleans for San Francisco, where she wins the adoration of the heroic Freddy Harwood, learns all about earthquakes, and becomes the mother of twin girls. And then there's Miss Crystal and her sharp-eyed maid, Traceleen. 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. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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