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Silent Retreats (Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction) Paperback – April 15, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820330663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820330662
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,993,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Self-conscious men and tough women inhabit the highways and small towns of Deaver's mainly Midwestern landscape. A lapsed Catholic experiencing a mid-life crisis learns in the title story that church retreats have become encounter groups; a macho computer analyst fantasizes about the office feminist in "Why I Shacked Up with Martha"; a cowgirl drifter hides behind theatrical eye make-up and her ambitions as a writer in "Fiona's Rooms"; and brazenly sexy, country hick Rhonda strings along the faceless adolescent narrator in "Arcola Girls." Permeated with finely crafted writing, grounded in the solidity of objects and places realized through well-textured description and resonant dialogue, this debut (winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction) makes a wise, quietly provocative statement about commonplace tragedy and the ironies and fragility of relationships. Most intriguing are the subtle connections that emerge as recurrent characters combat lossdeparted lovers; quick, pointless death by carwith various, always frustrated retreats from the communal realities of their lives. Less successful, however, is the dramatic integrity of the pieces in isolation. Though the stories accrue power in retrospect, individually they suffer from loose structure that sometimes makes them waver and lose direction.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Written in vivid, spare prose, the best of these stories linger, sad and profound, like songs you sing to yourself.”--New York Times


"Permeated with finely crafted writing, grounded in the solidity of objects and places realized through well-textured description and resonant dialogue, this debut makes a wise, quietly provocative statement about commonplace tragedy and the ironies and fragility of relationships."--Publishers Weekly


"Like all good fiction, the stories in this first collection are true. . . . The language, especially the dialogue, is clean and well-lit; the narration is seemly. This is a fine debut."--Virginia Quarterly Review


“Deaver offers yet another snapshot of the chasm that yawns between Christianity and Christendom in Silent Retreats."--Books and Religion


"A triumph . . . a noteworthy introduction."--Kirkus Reviews


"The style of these eleven stories is rich—full of talk, imagery, and wit."--Choice


"This collection . . . is quite impressive."--Chicago Tribune


"Deaver's Silent Retreats is a collection of deeply felt stories, rooted in the American landscape."--San Francisco Review

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Customer Reviews

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Glimpses of my own story.
alexandra
Were the neophyte writer to continue alternating the present action with flashback in past perfect all immediacy would be lost, the story would be completely flat.
Larry S. Williams
He can tell the tale and make me feel just like I am there.
B. Olehy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In Silent Retreats, Philip Deaver shows us what so few writers can: the sometimes delicate, sometimes harrowing, shifting of real emotion beneath the everyday. With deft turns of phrase and a sharp eye for telling detail, Deaver's haunted runners, love-struck teens, and overstressed businessmen seeking serenity reflect to us things about ourselves we have always known, but never stated. In the early-60s, small Illinois town setting of "Arcola Girls", an O Henry Award winning story, Deaver depicts with tenderness teenage love, longing, and loss. Why this book is out of print is beyond me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Olehy on November 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
OK... This hits close to home. The author grew up in my home town. I dated Arcola Girls too... Two of them to be exact. The author, grew up and graduated high school with my mom so I can almost taste and smell these stories in my mind. On the verge of another "Cola War", I always love to read these stories. Central Illinois is wonderful place to grow up. Deaver captures what it is to grow up and flourish in the flat lands of the Embrass River valley. He can tell the tale and make me feel just like I am there. I have driven those same roads.... American Grafitti for the Midwest!

Ingrum
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alexandra on August 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been looking for something to read, something satisfying, deep, enjoyable, well written, for my Friday night treat, and I remembered Philip F. Deaver's Silent Retreats. Next to Alice Munro, Philip Deaver is one of the subtlest contemporary story tellers. His craft always awes me and leaves me wanting to read more. I read about people I know in his short stories, although we never crossed paths, nor did we meet the same people. His characters are alive and lovable, and their stories believable. I recognise in them the stories of my neighbours, my family, and friends. Glimpses of my own story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Millard F. Johnson on July 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very original and engaging short stories. Each story, in its own way, is completely, almost painfully, personal. These are real people come to life in fiction. My personal favorite is Arcola Girls. The Arcola girls embody every man's sense of mystery in the forever unfathomable female.
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