A luminous quartet, five years in the writing, reveals even more fully the breathtaking range of "a storyteller in the grand tradition" (New York Times).
Allan Gurganus's voice--by turn bawdy and serene, folkloric and profane--deepens as it soars into this quiet masterwork. Four new fables--rich in event, comedy, experience--surge with the force of history's headlines versus sidestreet human fortitude. Improbable heroes and heroines spiral outward from Gurganus's familiar Carolina terrain. Each fires into a wild and differing direction, all in quest of some fantasy that's practically impossible:
--An impoverished immigrant has her portrait painted (or not) by John Singer Sargent.
--A young man's devotion to saving eighteenth-century homes—and their odd lingering ghosts—helps him find unlikely ways to renovate his own mortality.
--A pillar of the community becomes, over the course of one cartoon matinee, its pariah.
--A beloved, transfixingly homely father shows his village and his only son a decency stronger than race,
humiliation, or even death itself.
These characters' quixotic missions prove mysterious, often even to themselves. Their legacies are not easily deciphered. And yet, their most impractical wishes soon become the heartiest facts about each. They manage to wrest battle-courage from everyday indecision. Out of superstition and convention, they lift certainty. They each find a wealth of consoling truths banked--immortal--in the all-too-human heart.
Allan Gurganus's great powers--announced more than a decade ago by Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All--here achieve a yearning exuberance worthy of a new Whitman. These leaps of sexual longing, empathy, and faith become a major new gift from this essential fablemaker.
Allan Gurganus documents the daily dreams that sustain us. In the title novella of his extraordinary new collection, The Practical Heart, the narrator tells how his Aunt Muriel, a dour, genteel-poor Scottish immigrant, came to be painted by John Singer Sargent. This bit of family history turns out to be a fiction of the narrator's making, invented in an attempt to express how grand his aunt might have been, given an entirely different life. The other novellas likewise give us narrators interpreting and inventing the people around them. In "Preservation News" a woman eulogizes a historical preservationist who taught her the language of architecture; in "He's One, Too," a gay man looks back on his 1950s youth, when a stolid neighbor was arrested for indecent exposure in a public lavatory; in "Saint Monster," a son mourns his homely, good-hearted father, giving us parent-love as perhaps the most ordinary fantasy of all. --Claire DedererFrom the Inside Flap:
In his fictional Falls, North Carolina-a watchful zone of stifling mores-Allan Gurganus's fond and comical characters risk everything to protect their improbable hopes from prejudice, poverty, betrayal. Seeking warmth and true connection, they shield themselves and loved ones while creating a rarely-glimpsed world of valor, minor grandeur, side-street heroics.
Muriel Fraser, a poor Scottish-born spinster, is the subject of a John Singer Sargent portrait in the imagination of her devoted grand-nephew. Tad Worth, a young man dying of AIDS, finds ways to restore vitality to old friends and 18th-century houses. Overnight, one pillar of the community, accused of child molesting, becomes the village pariah. And Clyde Delman, ugliest if kindest man in Falls, finds the love of his eight-year-old son jeopardized when troubling family secrets arise. In each of these splendid complex tales, Allan Gurganus wrings truths-sometimes bruising, ofttimes warming-from human hearts as immense as they are local.
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Descrizione libro Knopf. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0679437630 Ships from Tennessee, usually the same or next day. Codice libro della libreria HCI9998JRGG062317H0151C
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Descrizione libro Knopf, 2001. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0679437630
Descrizione libro Knopf, 2001. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0679437630
Descrizione libro Knopf, 2001. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110679437630
Descrizione libro Knopf. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0679437630 New Condition. Codice libro della libreria NEW6.1229653