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Right of Way Paperback – October 15, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0931846946 ISBN-10: 0931846943

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Life, like most of the neighborhoods we inhabit, is constantly in transition, a state of being that Wingfield captures beautifully in stories about a neighborhood shifting and slouching toward the future. --Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio

This collection of linked stories--though it describes a shared space--covers a great deal of ground... [T]he writer's ear is perfectly pitched, his eye both far-seeing and keen. --Nicholas Delbanco, Author of Spring and Fall

In graceful prose, Wingfield probes at sensitive aspects of urban life--race, class, and gentrification... He knows the subjects his stories cover, making them feel as real as the neighbor next door. --W. Ralph Eubanks, Author of Ever is a Long Time

Wingfield tells universal stories about the rich and the poor, the old and the new, about people of every race and background trying to get by in a world that's changing around them. --Jared Clark, First Person Plural

Gentrification is messy. Gentrification is divisive... Everybody in Right of Way is getting pushed out of their comfort zone. What Wingfield clarifies is how some get pushed harder than others. --Mark Athitakis, Washington City Paper
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Writers' Publishing House (October 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0931846943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0931846946
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,321,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Wingfield's main interest as a writer and teacher is exploring the ways that people and places shape each other. He grew up east of Sacramento, California, in the bumpy transitional zone between the flat floor of the Central Valley and the steep slopes of the Sierra foothills. Like his 2005 novel, Hear Him Roar, much of his creative nonfiction deals with the human and environmental costs of the "development" that has denatured this home landscape dramatically over the past three decades.

Andrew earned his B.A. in English from Rutgers University in 1988 and his M.A. in English literature from the University of Chicago in 1990. He did odd jobs and wrote awkward fiction in various cities before enrolling in the creative writing program at George Mason University. After earning his M.F.A., Andrew joined the faculty of New Century College (NCC), the integrative studies program at George Mason. His is currently an Associate Professor at NCC, where he teaches courses on writing, conservation, and sustainability. He also directs Mason's BA program in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.

Andrew barely knew how to see until he started spending time with his wife, the painter Tania Karpowitz. In 2000, they bought and began renovating an old corner store building in a recovering neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia. On the ground floor, where customers used to buy candy, beer, and cigarettes, the owners now struggle mightily with colors on canvas and words on the page. They live in the upstairs apartment with their two sons. Most of the stories in Andrew's 2010 collection Right of Way were suggested by sites, sounds and situations he encountered in the neighborhood.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Taylor on October 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a stellar collection of linked stories -- practically a novel because they all take place in the community of Cleave Springs, all in this first decade of the 21st century, but each story stands on its own. The characters, mostly working and middle class, of many ethnic backgrounds, are convincingly drawn and there's something at stake in each story. Most explore genuine tensions within families and couples, from men's and women's perspectives. The title story is especially strong. Highly recommended.
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The skillfully written "Right of Way" by Andrew Wingfield comes with a bit of a pedigree. It won the Washington Writers' Publishing House prize for best fiction. There are eight stories in the collection that loosely chronicle the lives of neighbors in an old neighborhood (part of Alexandria, Virginia) that is undergoing a long gentrification process, including an inevitable change in demographics. Within that context, author Wingfield has created some wonderful characters who are in daily struggle to overcome their personal hangups and baggage, tragic family histories and relationships, and difficult financial situations. My favorite of these insightful and engaging tales is "Heirlooms" that most directly speaks to the process of neighborhood change and completes a circle for the two principal characters of the story. I have to admit that I was won over by its more obvious message of hope and redemption. But all of these stories are well-crafted and entertaining.
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Andrew Wingfield's Right of Way is linked; in his case, what binds the stories together is not a fictional character but a fictional neighborhood called Cleave Springs. On the outskirts of Washington, DC, Cleave Springs is home to a diverse and changing population, a place where class and race drive interactions, conflict, and change for the characters of this open-hearted, clear-eyed collection. From a distance, these characters are gentrifiers and neighborhood people, and up close, in the hands of this sharp and compelling author, they're all people just trying to get by, all just people trying to find home.
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By Helen on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book! Right of Way is a great book of short
stories! Andrew makes you feel like you are right there
observing these individual characters as they come to life
page after page. ( Reminscent of a John Irving tale) I look
forward to more from this author.
mj
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