With tender humor, brilliant insight, and an unmistakable narrative voice, National Book Award-winner Ellen Gilchrist returns to the celebrated Hand family and explores the world of complicated, simmering emotions, long the stuff of dreams and everlasting drama. A long, strange summer is about to begin. As tornadoes tear through America's ...
With tender humor, brilliant insight, and an unmistakable narrative voice, National Book Award-winner Ellen Gilchrist returns to the celebrated Hand family and explores the world of complicated, simmering emotions, long the stuff of dreams and everlasting drama. A long, strange summer is about to begin. As tornadoes tear through America's heartland and the Soviet Union crumbles on television, Olivia de Havilland Hand finishes her first year of college and returns home to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to explore the mystery of her identity and her Cherokee heritage. But even in a landscape steeped in memory, beneath the maple trees that fed her oxygen as a girl or on the gravel road where she first learned to drive, Olivia is surrounded by an all-too-present tangle of lives and loves: her strong-willed but fragile sister Jessie's travails with a new baby in New Orleans; her anthropology professor's stormy affair with a fellow academic; her aunt's blossoming relationship with a poet in Boston; her lonely father's fear of losing his daughters; and her own newfound romance with her old boyfriend, Bobby Tree. In this complicated web of relationships, spread across the country, connecting past with present, each struggles to find peace and, hopefully, love. The result is a masterful work of storytelling and a brilliant contemporary romantic comedy. Out of this maelstrom of misunderstood mates, screaming babies, politically correct lovers, estranged teenagers, and overprotective fathers comes a poignant, keenly observed meditation on love.
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Publishers Weekly, 1994-01-31 Gilchrist's marvelous storytelling gifts are abundantly lavished on her new novel, which continues the saga of the Hand family and its intricate network of kinfolk, who can be found scattered through Victory over Japan , Drunk with Love and The Anna Papers . Set in the summer of 1991, Starcarbon focuses on the younger generation of Hands introduced in I Cannot Get You Close Enough . Olivia, Daniel Hand's illegitimate daughter, returns to her Native American family in Tahlequah, Okla., to study Navajo and reunite with Bobby, the boyfriend she left behind when she schemed her way into her father's affluent lifestyle. Her half-sister Jessie is stuck in New Orleans with a new baby and a faltering marriage to the feckless King, the spoiled son of Daniel's distant cousin Crystal. Gilchrist skillfully makes these complicated relationships clear even to those who haven't read her earlier books by delineating sharply individualized characters. She writes with a distinctively Southern toughness about people who are selfish, demanding and often cruel to those closest to them, but who invariably gain the reader's sympathy with their total honesty and fierce need for love. Starcarbon, a ranch in Montana where Bobby worked, symbolizes the characters' longing for ``somewhere clean to be,'' free from the maddening bonds of family. Yet Gilchrist's multi-volume narrative, which grows deeper and richer with each additional book, compellingly shows how those bonds nurture as well as damage; her work offers a tart antidote to the rootlessness of so much American fiction. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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