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Gurganus returns to Falls, N.C., the setting of his Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, with this trio of linked novellas. "Fear Not" subjects a smalltown golden girl to horrific loss, an unplanned pregnancy, and a lifetime of wondering about the fate of her baby. The protagonist of "Saints Have Mothers" reluctantly sees her luminous, gifted daughter off on a global adventure, and has her worst fears realized. As she handles her own grief and the unfolding spectacle of Falls's collective mourning, Gurganus ratchets up the inner keening and deftly balances it with a certain sense of escalating absurdity. In "Decoy," a family history gets spun out as a backdrop to the retirement of the town's senior physician, a friend and confidant to the narrator, Bill Mabry, who still sees himself as a bit of an interloper in the country club set. "He knew so much. And about us! Our septic innards, our secret chin-lifts, our actual alcohol intake in liters-per-day." But as Dr. Roper leaves his medical role, Mabry's sense of loss gets sharper as the two men grow more remote from each other. In these layered, often funny narratives, close reading is rewarded as Gurganus exposes humanity as a strange species. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Sept.)
*Starred Review* Gurganus revisits the North Carolina town of Falls, where he situated his roundly applauded first novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989). His return to Falls is manifested in three novellas. Gurganus has never been a modest stylist. He favors, in concert with many of his fellow southerners, vivid language, provocative sentence structure, and metaphors that elevate the reader’s consciousness. He also shares with his southern cohorts a delight in discovering the quotidian within lives led under extraordinary, even bizarre circumstances. In the disturbing “Fear Not,” the male narrator attends the high-school theatrical performance of his teenage godson, accompanied by his godson’s mother. An interesting couple sits near them, and later, armed with the couple’s names, the narrator embarks on learning their story, which involves the many-years-later seeking of a child given up at birth. “Saints Have Mothers” is the slyest of the trio, a sardonic look at celebrity as a girl from Falls becomes famous for having disappeared. “Decoy,” the longest of the three, chronicles the friendship of two men from different sides of town in a meandering tale that eventually sharpens into a moving treatment of social aspiration. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Gurganus will be enjoying an extensive author tour and print and broadcast interviews, and the publisher will engage in a library marketing campaign. --Brad HooperSee all Editorial Reviews
Alan Gurganus is probably one of the finest Southern writers of our time.Published 1 month ago by lorraine miller
I truly enjoyed 'Local Souls'. His books are witty, wise, and beautifully written. Some may find them wordy ... Read morePublished 1 month ago by KatieAnn
Beautiful use and composition of language. Great characters and storyline.Published 11 months ago by Brenda Reynolds
There is nothing gay about any of the three novellas which should be edited down to short stories - too much repetition and rehashing of the same thoughts and events.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Two of the three novellas have moments of magic, but they never come together as a story, and have little cohesion as a collection. Read morePublished 12 months ago by E. M. Rice
I liked the first story very much. the characters were interesting,the situation unusual. The second one was just okay. The third one was long and boring. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ricky
As much as I love Alan Gurganus for the most part (White People and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All tops the list), I forced myself to slog through this one, hoping it... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Charles Green
Local Souls is a collection of three long stories/novellas that investigate how we deal with cataclysm in our lives. Read morePublished 14 months ago by J Martin Jellinek
I think he is a beautiful writer, but I kept wondering when the book would end. It just went on too long...Published 14 months ago by Deborah Evenich