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The Necessary Grace to Fall: Stories Paperback – October 15, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

You know at once when you read a fiction writer who has the Big Gift. The world of the story is instantly real in a way that surprises you. The prose is instinctively and intensely sensual. The characters are full of yearning. The Necessary Grace to Fall has these qualities in abundance. Gina Ochsner unmistakably has the Big Gift.

(Robert Olen Butler)

These stories, from the Midland oilfields to post-Soviet Vilnius, are distinguished by loss, and by intractable yearning. It is Gina Ochsner's achievement to show with such sensitivity and range the various ways we continue to fail each other and ourselves. A moving and powerful debut.

(Ehud Havazelet)

Gina Ochsner writes with the delight and knowing of a born conjurer. Her world is that liminal space, that disconnect, between nature and our lives—heaven's winking outside the office window, grass pushing up around the casket, umbrellas opening like the great beating of wings.

(Carol Edgarian)

She is . . . a breath-taking acrobat with image and metaphor, dexterous with point of view. . . . She also reaches back to what matters most: myth, legend, and the healing power of storytelling. . . . The thing about Ochsner's characters is that, though they most assuredly do stumble and fall, they also possess 'the necessary grace' to rise.

(Jill Barnum North Dakota Quarterly)

With the sensitivity of poetry The Necessary Grace to Fall does what most of us avoid or cannot do: it explores death, which, looked at clearly and closely, is not, we learn, so much fearsome as it is profoundly peculiar. Death is the ultimate Other and the breakdown of illusion. These stories are a fresh apprehension of life. Gina Ochsner has given us a brave gift.

(Antietam Review)

Ochsner is playful and fearless in her search to understand life through suicide, terminal illness, violence and war. Her mesmerizing prose is remarkably well-balanced. She writes with a quiet authority the grasps the poetic nature of the short-story form. Yet she possesses an innate lightheartedness that takes the edge off the Grim Reaper's scythe.

(Susan Wickstrom The Oregonian)

About the Author

Gina Ochsner is the author of the novel The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight and the short story collection People I Wanted to Be. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, Kenyon Review, and many other magazines. She has received the Ruth Hindman Foundation Prize, the Raymond Carver Prize, and the Chelsea Award for Short Fiction. In addition to winning the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, The Necessary Grace to Fall also won the Oregon Book Award for Short Fiction and was an Austin Chronicle Top Ten Pick. Ochsner lives in western Oregon with her husband and four children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820334235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820334233
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,538,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

GINA OCHSNER is the author of two collections of short stories, People I Wanted to Be and The Necessary Grace to Fall, both of which won the Oregon Book Award, and a novel, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight, which was longslisted for the Orange Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a recipient of the Flannery O'Connor Award, an NEA grant, a Guggenheim, and the Raymond Carver Prize.

Gina lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, three children and two canine children. She serves as Corban University's Writer in Residence, as well as serving on the faculty in the Masters of Fine Arts - Creative Writing program at Seattle Pacific University.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gina Ochsner proves that writing truly is an art.
In "The Necessary Grace to Fall," Ochsner deals with the complex theme of death in even more complicated story lines that actually force the reader to think.
Ochsner writes beautifully, without veiling anything, to appeal to any person that has been touched by loss in one way or another. Her stories range from dealing with death, to the process of dying, and even experiencing life after death. Her ideas are creative and are fluidly and successfully portrayed.
I strongly recommend this book if you love to read quality literature.
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By A Customer on January 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Necessary Grace to fall explores the tremulous boundaries between the living and the dead--that twilight territory in time and space, in the memory and the heart, where the living still shake hands with the dead. The themes of mercy, grace, hope and reneweal in graceless times slowly emerge as one story builds upon another. I highly recommend this book both for its literary imagination and technique. Quite possibly it will change your life.
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Format: Hardcover
Gina Ochsner is a remarkably gifted writer who has produced a stunning first book, The Necessary Grace To Fall. These are beautifully crafted short stories, but their excellence comes primarily from Ochsner's abilities as a story-teller, skillfully juggling all of the tools of fiction to achieve the maximum impact, rather than from her ability to compose rich yet disciplined prose. She chooses her words well, but the style never gets in the way of the story and its unfolding. Her characters are complex and alive. Ochsner makes them open up on the page, and the reader comes to know them intimately as they explore their own thoughts and feelings.
Ochsner's fiction employs unusual settings, which are, for the most part, remote and exotic. Many of her stories are set in the very cold regions of the earth where the elements are extremely harsh and the inhabitants' lives are ruled by the stark realities of severe weather. In addition, her landscapes often feature prominent reminders of the forces of history that shape the characters' fates: the ruins of bombed out buildings, the exposed corpses of ethnic cleansing victims, or the cultural echoes of The Holocaust. Carefully selected sensory details bring a vivid sense of reality to these settings. You feel like you're there, breathing the air, walking the ground. In many of her stories, the setting itself acts as a character, with a life of its own, and the human characters' interior lives are inextricably interwoven with the life of the place. The reader senses that these stories couldn't have happened anywhere else other than where Ochsner placed them.
Death is a common theme in these stories, yet, they are not morbid, although at times they are gruesome.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked how descriptive this book was, it was easy to enter in and relate to the characters. Also, I liked that the author wrote about how things are, not how they should be. This book is full of emotion and honesty, and it's surprisingly gritty and humorous.
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Format: Hardcover
Ms. Ochsner's uniquely elegant prose provides the most dour character with grace. Each of the book's eleven stories provides the reader with the same.
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