DescriptionThrough memorable language and bawdy humor, Gurganus returns to his mythological Falls, North Carolina, home of Widow. This first work in a decade offers three novellas mirroring today's face-lifted South, a zone revolutionized around freer sexuality, looser family ties, and superior telecommunications, yet it celebrates those locals who have chosen to stay local. In doing so, Local Souls uncovers certain old habits--adultery, incest, obsession--still very much alive in our New South, a Winesburg, Ohio with high-speed Internet.
Wells Tower says of Gurganus, No living writer knows more about how humans matter to each other. Such ties of love produce hilarious, if wrenching, complications: Fear Not gives us a banker's daughter seeking the child she was forced to surrender when barely fifteen, only to find an adult rescuer she might have invented. In Saints Have Mothers, a beloved high school valedictorian disappears during a trip to Africa, granting her ambitious mother a postponed fame that turns against her. And in a dramatic Decoy, the doctor-patient friendship between two married men breaks toward desire just as a biblical flood shatters their neighborhood and rearranges their fates.
Gurganus finds fresh pathos in ancient tensions: between marriage and Eros, parenthood and personal fulfillment. He writes about erotic hunger and social embarrassment with Twain's knife-edged glee. By loving Falls, Gurganus dramatizes the passing of Hawthorne's small-town nation into those Twitter-nourished lives we now expect and relish.
Four decades ago, John Cheever pronounced Allan Gurganus the most technically gifted and morally responsive writer of his generation. Local Souls confirms Cheever's prescient faith. It deepens the luster of Gurganus's reputation for compassion and laughter. His black comedy leaves us with lasting affection for his characters and the aching aftermath of human consequences. Here is a universal work about a village.
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About the Author
The beloved author whose literary bona fides rank him among the most revered writers of the last 50 years, Gurganus has an eye for gesture large and small, an ear for voice at once razor-sharp and tender, and a way with finding the absolutely precise moment of dramatic tension.--Brett Lott
Refreshing. . . . an antidote to the marketplace's mass message and massage. . . . The house of a master-magician-builder-writer. . . . Go ahead, step in, light up your life.--Clyde Edgerton
Allan Gurganus is our verbal magician. He turns factual rabbits into poetic doves. Every sentence contains a surprise, but the brilliant surface doesn't dazzle us from peering into the tender human depths.--Edmund White
Vivid language, provocative sentence structure, and metaphors that elevate the reader's consciousness. [Gurganus] shares with his southern cohorts a delight in discovering the quotidian within lives led under extraordinary, even bizarre circumstances.