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The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress: linked stories Paperback – January 5, 2012
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"The stories in Michelle Richmond's first collection spin artfully off the life of a single character...smart and adept..." -- The New York Times
"This collection has a novel's heft...These lives are shaped by fate andplace, forces hauntingly evoked by this talented writer." -- The Boston Globe
"Remember this name: Michelle Richmond...impressive talent and emotional range...Richmond writes with grace, calm, a refreshing sense of playfulness." -- The San Francisco Chronicle
"Richmond's writing is perceptive and heartfelt, her subjects at once edgy and familiar. This is a winning debut." -- Publishers Weekly, October 22, 2001
"An excellent read,...[a]well-written and thoroughly fascinating short-story cycle...Recommended for public libraries and for all academic collections supporting the study of fiction writing." -- Choice, May 2002
From the Publisher
Winner of the AWP Award for Short Fiction. Powerful stories explore the lives of a fragmented family from Alabama. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I believe it was her first book - a compilaiton of short stories that were somehow suppose to come together - that's what I read somewhere.
I was sort of disappointed in that the book seemed like a lot of stories that somehow weren't complete and really didn't connect - other than I think they were about a family of girls and their individual stories.
It was a little hard for me to follow because it jumped from one girl to the other.
I didn't NOT like it, but, it didn't really move me as all her other books have.
I like the way she has "matured" in her story writing and am looking forward to her next novel, which I hope is coming soon.
but until now...all the other novels I've read by her have taken place in
Northern California ( written so well...a reader would think she was a Bay Area native)....
so, it was a treat to read the collection of these short stories...all linked to
Alabama --( coming or going).
Michelle gives us a 'Southern - historical flavor of the what's driving the community ...
in particular, one extended family from the 'natives' from Alabama...
and in particular....'woman'.
We witness woman breaking free...( dancing naked in San Francisco)...
All woman who leave the south - who come to San Francisco...dance naked in public at least once in their lives....didn't you know it's an initiation to the city? Ha! :)
Many themes that run through these stories are about finding freedom, strength,
dependable souls to trust...and one's own voice.
In one of the stories Grace is talking with her boyfriend Ivan. She has had it with his
stories, his lies, and is trying to tell him she wants to break up. We can see Grace feels
pretty down on 'all men ' at the moment, too. From 'her' shoes we almost can't blame
her. I got the impression the poor girl has never experienced a healthy male/female
Then,...to top things off, Howard Stern comes on the radio.
"He's interviewing a leading child psychologists, quizzing her on the size of her breasts. He wants to know if her breasts get in the way of her social work. She wants to know if his stupidity gets in the way of his career. She postulates that Howard Stern was breast-fed until the age of 10 or so and thus his fascination with the
mammary glad. She suggests that he wants to sleep with his mother".
"Whoa-ho!, he says. "Easy Baby. I'll tell you who I want to sleep with. I want to sleep with your mother!"
"Howard's sidekick, Robin, tells him to behave."
Ivan and Grace continue on their car drive....( in silence)
"A couple of minutes later we exit the turnpike, then drive for a long time toward
the shore. It begins to rain. The windshield wipers of our plastic Rent-A-Car keep sticking, and every couple of minutes I have to lean out the window and lift the wipers from the glass to get them moving again."
"Our route takes us through broken-down towns that all look pretty much the same:
old factories with soot-scarred windows, bent cars parked permanently in driveways, filthy little grocery stores with big white banners in the windows, advertising pork roast and pampers. Ivan watches the slick road while I watch the odometer. It clicks off
the miles with a slowness that reminds me of Alabama, Sunday drives with my
parents and sisters through green empty places that inevitably ended at some
abandoned length of railroad, crossing signals long defunct."
While Michelle Richmond explored the growth of several family members..be it religion, sexuality, parenting, education, birth, guilt, fears, grief, laughter, love, ...
she has our emotions in the palm of her hands...and
from rain - to sunshine- to low white hills -to
chilly nights..and muddy tracks from tires on a car in untouched snow, Michelle's
writing is quite beautiful.
A beautiful work of art; that books could be displayed in museums, this would hang in reverence.
This is a read. This is a masterpiece of prose. This should be your next choice.