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Miss Lulu Bett and Selected Stories Paperback – December 13, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (December 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400095387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400095384
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,618,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Progressive activist Gale (1874– 1938) first published the title novella in 1920 to critical and popular acclaim, following it with a Pulitzer Prize–winning play of the same title. This edition, printed with four of Gale's stories and a new introduction, reintroduces Lulu Bett, an unmarried 34-year-old who lives with her sister and brother-in-law, Ina and Dwight Deacon, as "the family beast of burden." She suffers the indignity of unpaid servitude and Dwight's mean-spirited jokes until his brother, Ninian, arrives after a 20-year absence. The ebullient visitor awakens Lulu's spirit, and a wedding they conduct in jest turns serious. Lulu enjoys a brief honeymoon before disappointment strikes, but she asserts herself again at the end of this story about independence and marriage. The other stories—"Dream" (1919), "The Biography of Blade" (1927), "The Need" (1930) and "Bridal Pond" (1930)—also address marriage, societal strictures and power imbalances. "Dream," for example, critiques racism with its depiction of a community eagerly anticipating the arrival of affluent new neighbors until it's discovered they're black. Gale's incisive social commentary, economical prose, complicated characterizations and natural dialogue make for lovely rediscovery. (Dec.)
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“A great book . . . the telling is almost incomparable” --Robert Benchley, The World

“Eloquent. . . . Miss Lulu Bett is without flaw” --The Atlantic Monthly

“It has a narrowly limned beauty. . . . The book stands as a signal accomplishment in American letters” —The New Republic

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on December 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's great to have MISS LULU BETT back again. It is one of the classics of the original suffragette era, and has a wonderful title role in it. Cheerier than Edith Wharton, Zona Gale nevertheless shared some of Wharton's incisive social satire as well as a great heart for human dignity and courage. For even a tro-upon "old maid" like Lulu Bett can suddenly rear up and take command of her own life as she does in this book. The things she has to put up with are so awful, and what's hreatbreaking is to think that the life she leads is just typical of unmarried women of the day. She is really nothing but a slave in the household of some people who are no better than she is, only they're married so that makes them better than she is automatically, under the legal and social codes of the day. While reading through Lulu's struggles I was also reminded of Dorothy Parker's wit and expansive humor, though Parker was apparently incapable of extending herself to the length of a whole novel: a new reader might think of "Miss Lulu Bett" as the novel Parker might have written with a wee bit more self-discipline and less gin.

Barbara Solomon and Eileen Panetta provide a sensible introduction that gives us something of the flavor of Gale's unique personality, sketching in the background of the literary scene in which Gale took such a prominent place. And they do their best to explain why she was so quickly forgotten, even her best selling Pulitzer Prize winning works hardly a memory any longer.

On the other hand, "Selected Stories" is a little bit of a misnomer or if not a misnomer, a rip off, since only four stories are included! This from a writer whose short stories are among the best of the 20th century!
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By K. Spangler on July 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this little gem. The writing was witty and clever, and the characters were perfectly sketched.
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