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Acts of God: Stories
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Workman Publishing 2014
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Description

From a National Book Award–winning "master of short fiction," a collection of "sharp, funny and insightful" stories (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Three middle-aged women set off on a vacation in Italy, but are sidelined along the way by terrorist activity. In post-Katrina New Orleans, an elderly couple makes a last effort at independence from caretakers and infirmities. These short stories and others, from the acclaimed author of Victory Over Japan and A Dangerous Age, feature characters dealing with forces beyond their control, yet somehow managing to triumph—even if only in spirit. "Reading Ellen Gilchrist is addictive . . . Her new work is filled with good people who show fortitude and even heroism under duress . . . In this age of edgy irony, her warm-hearted view of humanity is refreshing." —NPR "The stories in Acts of God are great postcards from the world of Ellen Gilchrist. It's a world of war and strife and surprises, and it is, yes, marvelous to behold." —The New York Times Book Review "Gilchrist is at her best when the wry and satirical mood strikes her . . . and it's a pleasure to report that the best of the stories in Acts of God rank with the best in her first collection and in her second . . . for which she was awarded a richly deserved National Book Award." —The Washington Post

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Street Date:
04/08/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781616203955
ASIN:
B00GU2RLU4
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Ellen Gilchrist. (2014). Acts of God: Stories. Workman Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Ellen Gilchrist. 2014. Acts of God: Stories. Workman Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Ellen Gilchrist, Acts of God: Stories. Workman Publishing, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Ellen Gilchrist. Acts of God: Stories. Workman Publishing, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Anne Arundel County Public Library11
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Date Added:
Jun 03, 2017 06:06:56
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 04:24:36
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        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.

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From a National Book Award–winning "master of short fiction," a collection of "sharp, funny and insightful" stories (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Three middle-aged women set off on a vacation in Italy, but are sidelined along the way by terrorist activity. In post-Katrina New Orleans, an elderly couple makes a last effort at independence from caretakers and infirmities. These short stories and others, from the acclaimed author of Victory Over Japan and A Dangerous Age, feature characters dealing with forces beyond their control, yet somehow managing to triumph—even if only in spirit.

"Reading Ellen Gilchrist is addictive . . . Her new work is filled with good people who show fortitude and even heroism under duress . . . In this age of edgy irony, her warm-hearted view of humanity is refreshing." —NPR

"The stories in Acts of God are great postcards from the world of Ellen Gilchrist. It's a world of war and strife and surprises, and it is, yes, marvelous to behold." —The New York Times Book Review

"Gilchrist is at her best when the wry and satirical mood strikes her . . . and it's a pleasure to report that the best of the stories in Acts of God rank with the best in her first collection and in her second . . . for which she was awarded a richly deserved National Book Award." —The Washington Post

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 16, 2013
        The South is alive and vibrant in Gilchrist’s latest collection of 11 stories, and so are some of her best-known characters, whom readers first met in Gilchrist’s 1984 National Book Award–winning collection, Victory Over Japan. The redoubtable Rhoda Manning initiates an escalating epistolary exchange with the owner of barking canines in “The Dogs.” In “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” Anna Hand’s niece, Louise, meets a devoted editor of her late aunt’s books while they’re both trapped in Heathrow by a terrorist attack. Many of these characters are longtime habitués of Gilchrist’s fiction, and they typify her trademark Southern women—voluble, friendly, strenuously polite, and just a bit eccentric. These “upper-middle-class white protestant princesses” value family lineage, good manners, and meandering, leisurely recollections. Set in New Orleans; Fayetteville, Ark.; and Biloxi, Miss., Gilchrist’s narratives are sedate, chatty, and linear, which will attract readers who welcome what is now considered old-fashioned storytelling. In several tales—e.g., “A Love Story,” “The Dissolution of the Myelin Sheath,” “Jumping Off Bridges into Clean Water”—Gilchrist veers into sentimental territory, twice employing plots involving suicide. One may carp that Gilchrist gives all of her characters the same voice and verbal cadences, but their dialogue rings with a Southern lilt that makes the characters distinctive and appealing.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2014
        Disaster becomes the impetus for renewed faith in goodness, love and spiritual uplift in these 10 stories about kindhearted Southerners from Gilchrist (A Dangerous Age, 2008, etc.). In the title story, Hurricane Katrina is a sideline disaster. An elderly couple, beloveds since high school in homespun Madison, Ga. (in reality, a town of restored quaintness full of retirees and tourists), is left on their own when their caregiver stays home to deal long distance with her evacuated son. Driving home from the grocery store, the octogenarians have a fatal accident, but the aftermath turns into a celebration of expanding connections. Similarly, in "The Dissolution of Myelin Sheath," an ailing woman's suicide influences her daughter's therapist to appreciate life more. More elderly lovers appear in the sketch "A Love Story" and in "Jumping Off Bridges into Clean Water," which skims nearly 50 years of another devoted relationship. Five teenage volunteers at the site of a tornado find the level of goodness in their lives permanently raised after they find a living baby in "Miracle in Adkins, Arkansas." Ditto the accounting instructor in "Collateral," who finds herself a husband after her stint in the National Guard in post-Katrina New Orleans. Equally charmed are the lives of two gay paramedics from Los Angeles who happen to be vacationing in the Big Easy when the hurricane hits in "High Water." In "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," three Southern ladies (former sorority sisters) on their way to a vacation in Italy are delayed at Heathrow Airport during a bomb scare and share life stories with others stuck over free drinks and hors d'oeuvres in the first-class lounge--the sense of privilege, taken for granted by the author, may grate on readers. Rhoda Manning, a character from Gilchrist's previous fiction, reappears in "The Dogs" to stir up her neighbors against uppity new move-ins with misbehaving mutts. The volume's first hint of diversity appears in the final story, about a black child saved by kindly white plantation owners in 1901. Overly sentimental.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2014

        A complaint one often hears about modern literary fiction--and especially short fiction--is that it is almost predictably "dark" and "pessimistic." This new collection of stories by National Book Award winner Gilchrist (Victory over Japan) unfolds almost as if she herself feels precisely this way and has written a book to remedy this situation. Here she unabashedly and movingly celebrates life, true love, and triumphs over calamity and adversity. As the title suggests, Gilchrist frankly acknowledges throughout those things in life that we often can't control or understand, including illness, mistakes, natural disasters, old age, human ignorance, and acts of violence. And yet each tale celebrates her characters' willingness to learn from misfortune and loss, not to be diminished by it--and to change for the better. VERDICT Gilchrist notes that this group of stories come from her later years, suggesting that they reflect a lifetime of observing, writing, and living, and she has created a work of considerable wisdom and grace. Fans of both literary and general fiction will likely find this volume refreshing, engaging, and inspiring.--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from February 1, 2014
        Gilchrist will remain forever beloved for Victory over Japan (1984), her National Book Awardwinning collection of short stories. Many outstanding novels have been added to her oeuvre over the years, but Gilchrist's deliciously wise and humorous voice abides best in the short story form, and her new collection of 10 stories will say to her fans that their reconnection to this openhearted writer from the South is a pure old-home-week experience (especially given that recurring Gilchrist characters make welcome appearances). A thematic connection unifies the stories, which generally reflect recent national events and current social and political conditions that put individuals' moxie to the test. For instance, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, a beautiful, smart, phenomenally rich story, sees three middle-aged women, former college buddies, off to a vacation in Italy, but they are sidelined along the way by terrorist activity; in post-Katrina New Orleans in the title story, an elderly couple's last effort at independence from caretakers and infirmities has fatal results, but after their deaths, their youngest son creates an elaborate family tree celebrating life over death. Gilchrist has no interest in soap-box preaching or, for that matter, in sentiment. It's character exploration she seeks, pure and simple.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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Three middle-aged women set off on a vacation in Italy, but are sidelined along the way by terrorist activity. In post-Katrina New Orleans, an elderly couple makes a last effort at independence from caretakers and infirmities. These short stories and others, from the acclaimed author of Victory Over Japan and A Dangerous Age, feature characters dealing with forces beyond their control, yet somehow managing to triumph—even if only in spirit.

"Reading Ellen Gilchrist is addictive . . . Her new work is filled with good people who show fortitude and even heroism under duress . . . In this age of edgy irony, her warm-hearted view of humanity is refreshing." —NPR

"The stories in Acts of God are great postcards from the world of Ellen Gilchrist....

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tableOfContents

CONTENTS
1. Acts of God 1
2. Miracle in Adkins, Arkansas 17
3. Collateral 39
4. High Water 87
5. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor 109
6. The Dogs 157
7. The Dissolution of the Myelin Sheath 177
8. A Love Story 197
9. Jumping Off Bridges into Clean Water 205
10. Hopedale, A History in Four Acts 223