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Pilgrims Paperback – September 17, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (September 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395924855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395924853
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,200,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Gilbert's first collection of short stories is remarkable for its breadth, range of setting, and subject matter. Each world her characters inhabit, whether ranchlands in the West or the Bronx Terminal Vegetable Market, is authentic and fully realized. Her stories do not finish with clever twists or pat endings; we simply spend time with her characters and believe that they go on living after the story is finished. Without editorializing, Gilbert lets us discover the characters; when we read of "The Many Things That Denny Brown Did Not Know (Age Fifteen)," we also learn the important things he did know. And though Rose led a life of unrepentant promiscuity, she was, after all, "The Finest Wife." An outstanding debut; highly recommended.?Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Idaho Lib., Moscow
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A fine first collection of 12 stories that are richly varied in setting and content, and enlivened by their author's flair for vigorous dialogue and concise summary statement. Gilbert's tales are ostensibly linked by the metaphor indicated by her book's title (and underscored by her use as epigraph of the opening lines of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales). It's true that all her characters seek respect or self-definition, and also that many of them are looking for love, of whatever kind is available, in all the wrong places with all the people likeliest to hurt or disappoint them. More-or-less conventional sexual situations are explored with economy and wit in the title story's account of a young cowboy's truculent relationship with a female ranch-hand, the Saroyan-like ``Tall Folks'' in which a woman saloon owner slakes her loneliness, as it were, by falling for her handsome young nephew, and the amusing ``Landing,'' about a rootless woman's fascination with a sexy paratrooper. Gilbert strikes deeper with several more ambitious stories, most notably the resonant ``Elk Talk,'' a skillful symbolic revelation of a woman's endangered idyllic life in the Wyoming mountains; ``The Many Things That Denny Brown Did Not Know (Age Fifteen)'' (Gilbert has a thing for unwieldy titles), a clever picturing of adolescent confusion, presented through an ingeniously handled omniscient narration; and ``The Famous Torn and Restored Lit Cigarette Trick,'' a nicely understated account of a successful Hungarian immigrant in Pittsburgh whose violent nature becomes the guiding principle in his life. Ranging further still, Gilbert offers (in ``At the Bronx Terminal Vegetable Market'') a hauntingly vivid portrait of a naive porter who tries to convince himself he can run for president of his mob-controlled union. The best kind of debut volume: a striking display of a versatile writer flexing her muscles and tackling a broad array of subjects and themes. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, as well as the short story collection, Pilgrims--a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and winner of the 1999 John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares. A Pushcart Prize winner and National Magazine Award-nominated journalist, she works as writer-at-large for GQ. Her journalism has been published in Harper's Bazaar, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine, and her stories have appeared in Esquire, Story, and the Paris Review.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Reads like a text book for writers and authors.
A Searcher of Life
That's what happened to me when I read Pilgrims, Gilbert's collection of short stories and my first exposure to her fiction.
Beverly C Fox
Extremely well written, as are all of her books.
St. George

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Eric Cason on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
After always looking forward to reading Ms. Gilbert's funny/intellegent/quirky articles in SPIN magazine (who she sadly doesn't seem to write for anymore) the high quality of this book wasn't much of a surprise. The charaters are well formed and easy to empathize with. The fact that all the stories dwell on the same theme of lonliness and searching for connection, it reads more like a novel than a randomly selected set of stories. If you liked this, read her articles on Chinese Dams, Feminist Pornography and Renesance Faires in SPIN, or her essay on Buckle Bunnies in the KGB Reader. I can't wait for her novel to come out.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By owookiee VINE VOICE on January 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
A friend's interest in Gilbert spurned me to read this short story collection, which I found very enjoyable. Gilbert has a way of creating a very vivid scene and situation, so as to wrap your interest around the characters promptly. Then, naughty as it is, she ends her stories almost always leaving you to wonder how everything will play out. It's more that she's giving you a glimpse into another world, rather than relating a brief story from beginning to end.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's rare that I like the majority of stories in a short story collection. In this case, all but one are perfect, and even the imperfect piece -- the last in the volume -- is pretty damned good. Buy this book: you won't regret it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Gilbert is a talented writer and some of these stories in this collection are absolutely terrific. These stories will capture your imagination. There were several that I wished Gilbert would have made into novels. I really enjoyed reading these stories, but I did read Stern Men, her novel, first and as strong as these stories are, Stern Men is even stronger, so I was a little disappointed. All in all, however, this is a terrific collection by a very talented writer and I look forward to seeing more of her work.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 1997
Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Gilber is certainly a talent. The tales were diverse and interesting but I felt cheeted of completeness and closure. Each character faces his or her own pilgramage in each short story, and in the end, they are no closer than when they began. There is no "ah hah" so this is it. I felt each one was the begining of a to be continued series
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By PITA48 on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I fell in love with Gilbert's writing from Eat, Pray, Love. This compilation of short stories did not disappoint. I had to stop between each story and rest a bit before starting the next because my brain would not let the previous story go.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
Of all the darned good stories I've come across, Elizabeth Gilbert writes the darnedest goodest, perhaps "the best." "The Famous Torn and Restored Lit Cigarette Trick" in particular has all the mistifying charms of the sleight of hand illusions she describes therein: it's dexterous and surprising, baffling and revelatory. Be warned--Gilbert writes seatbelts-off short fiction that reinvigorates the sleepy genre and makes it buy us all a drink.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Bishop on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Gilbert's books Eat, Pray, Love and Committed but this book is a little boring. I really just don't enjoy fiction. She is very talented and I wish she would write more non-fiction.
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