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The Necessary Grace to Fall: Stories Paperback – October 15, 2009
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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
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author of this collection is a cheerful, cute young woman. She is funny and awfully nice. She lectured to my class once. Read morePublished on March 3, 2008 by Imez
Author did not understand that Russia is not a North Pole, and some Russians might read her books. The author has no knowledge about Russia, Russian names, and anything else. Read morePublished on August 21, 2005 by Vassili Ivanov
Gina Ochsner has a wonderful literary voice. This book marks the beginning of great things to come.Published on June 11, 2003 by Tom