The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus by Allan Gurganus
"Gurganus' vital collection (after Local Souls) portrays small-town Americans, mostly oddballs and misfits, at moments of self-discovery as recounted in their own authentic voices. Several stories take place in fictional Falls, N.C., once called the Athens of This Far into Eastern North Carolina, according to the tour guide in The Deluxe $19.95 Walking Tour of Historic Falls (NC).... Among the greatest entries in this stellar work are "My Heart Is a Snake Farm," featuring a spinster whose life in a crumbling Florida motel brightens when a slippery charmer opens a reptile tourist attraction, and "He's at the Office," which details a sons efforts to help his 80-year-old father, a WWII veteran mentally stuck in the 1940s. Simultaneously funny and compassionate, literary and lowbrow, Gurganuss stories trawl the mysteries of the human heart and surface with wonderful results."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"These nine stories provide a masterclass in How to Write a Story. I'm not sure how Mr. Gurganus can offer Comical, Tragic, Tender, Frightening, Soulful, Hopeful, and Despairing elements within every story, but it's true. Perfect protagonists and their enemies. What the heck took so long for these remarkable uncollected stories to discover a binding? This collection deserves to be on the same shelf as Carver, Cheever, and OConnor."
—George Singleton, author of You Want More: Selected Stories
"Gurganus, a storyteller in the grand tradition...can tell his stories as well as anyone alive in our time."
—George Garrett, The New York Times Book Review
One of the best writers of our time (Ann Patchett) offers this hilarious yet haunting cycle of storiesall previously uncollected.
Since the explosive publication of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus has dazzled readers as the most technically gifted and morally responsive writer of his generation (John Cheever). He has been praised as "one of Americas preeminent novelists, our prime conductor of electric sentences" (William Giraldi). Above all, Allan Gurganus is a seriously funny writer, an expert at evoking humor, especially in our troubled times.
Now he offers nine classic tales never before between covers. They attest to his mastery of the short story and the growing depth of his genius. Offering characters antic and tragic, Gurganus charts the human condition masked and unmasked as we live it now. Once upon a time collides with the everyday. We meet a mortician whose dedication to his departed clients exceeds all legal limits. We encounter a seaside couple fighting to save their family dog from Maines fierce undertow. A virginal seventy-eight-year-old grammar school librarian has her sole erotic experience with a polyamorous snake farmer. A vicious tornado sends twin boys aloft, leaving only one of them alive. And, in an eerily prescient story, cholera strikes a rural village in 1849 and citizens come to blame their doomed young doctor who saved hundreds.
These meticulously crafted parables recall William Faulkners scope and Flannery OConnors corrosive wit. Imbuing each story with charged drama, Gurganus, a sublime ventriloquist, again proves himself among our funniest writers and our wisest.
Allan Gurganusis widely translated, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Adaptations of his fiction have earned four Emmys, and his stories have been appearing in The New Yorker since 1974. He lives in a small town in North Carolina.