In these three interconnecting stories, the author explores the love that binds generations to each other, the love between parent and child, the power of which is as capable of destruction as it is of creation. Ellen Gilchrist was the winner of the 1984 American Book Award for fiction.In these three interconnecting stories, the author explores the love that binds generations to each other, the love between parent and child, the power of which is as capable of destruction as it is of creation. Ellen Gilchrist was the winner of the 1984 American Book Award for fiction.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 1992-01-27 Readers of Gilchrist's short story collections ( Victory over Japan ; I Cannot Get You Close Enough ) have watched headstrong Rhoda Manning grow into an intelligent, independent yet spoiled and self-destructive adult. In making her the protagonist of this compelling novel, Gilchrist has broadened and deepened her portrayal to create a fascinating portrait of a young woman's difficult coming-of-age in the Deep South of the 1950s. Eschewing the prettified characteristics of a conventional heroine, Gilchrist candidly depicts Rhoda's racial and class prejudices and essential disinterest in civil rights until growing maturity deepens her understanding and involves her in a personal way. Meanwhile, we gain insight into her family's dynamics--her domineering, hot-tempered father and class-obsessed mother--and the influences that make her conform not only to the image of the Southern party girl but also to abuse alcohol and rely on habit-forming drugs. Not surprisingly, Rhoda is drawn to a man who resembles her father; her marriage to Malcolm Martin, an ``ice cold Georgia aristocrat with a fierce libido,'' is disastrous. Gracefully evoking a time and place--with the cruelty of social injustice subsumed beneath the daily routines of a rich life--Gilchrist surrounds Rhoda with other characters of appealing vitality. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly, 1990-08-17 Gilchrist ( Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle ) brings back familiar characters in three linked, deeply perceptive novellas focusing on the Hand family of Charlotte, N.C. In ``Winter'' famed novelist Anna Hand, ill with cancer, gives her last energies to save her adored young niece Jessie from her neurotic mother, Sheila, taking a dangerous journey to Turkey to secure proof that Sheila is an unfit parent. In ``De Havilland Hand,'' Anna's other niece surfaces, the headstrong half-Cherokee Olivia, child of Daniel Hand's idyllic hippie-period marriage to the now dead Summer Deer. Both Jessie and Olivia confront their baffled father, aging Daniel, and learn to coexist. ``A Summer in Maine'' gathers a houseful of kinfolk and close acquaintances to recover Anna's literary papers. Instead they carry on their ``junky troubled life'' of lovemaking and wrangling, in a welter of voices, the most humane being that of the black servant Traceleen. Gilchrist brilliantly captures the intimate accents and rhythms of a family under stress. (Oct.)
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