The Courts of Love: Stories

( 3 )

Overview

This celebrated collection opens with "Nora Jane and Company", a series of nine stories featuring one of the most popular characters in the Gilchrist galaxy: a former teenage runaway who once robbed a bar in New Orleans dressed as a nun. Now living happily in Berkeley, married and the mother of twins, Nora Jane is back in college, pregnant again, launching a new career, and facing circumstances that imperil her domestic bliss.

The nine stories that follow explore the hazards of ...

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Overview

This celebrated collection opens with "Nora Jane and Company", a series of nine stories featuring one of the most popular characters in the Gilchrist galaxy: a former teenage runaway who once robbed a bar in New Orleans dressed as a nun. Now living happily in Berkeley, married and the mother of twins, Nora Jane is back in college, pregnant again, launching a new career, and facing circumstances that imperil her domestic bliss.

The nine stories that follow explore the hazards of recapturing and reviving old affairs. Featuring both new and familiar Gilchrist characters, all of these stories shed brilliant new light on the oldest emotion.

This new collection from National Book Award winner Ellen Gilchrist features ten moving, funny tributes ti affairs of the heart, including a novella starring one of Gilchrist's favorite recurring characters, Nora Jane Whittingahm. Bellyband promo with offer for a free Gilchrist paperback.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The novella that occupies more than half of this satisfying volume displays many of Gilchrist's characteristics: the reappearance of characters encountered in previous works; frequent foreshadowing and flashbacks; a mix of the mundane and the miraculous; and copious literary and scientific referencesall employed in the service of an eventful story. "Nora Jane and Company" reprises the eponymous character whom we last saw giving birth to twins, in Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle. Here, the twins are now 10; Nora Jane is 29 and happily married to Freddy Harwood. As usual, all the players in a sizable cast of characters are larger than life: they live spontaneously, even recklessly; they have lots of money and spend it freely and frivolously; they are ruled by passionate emotions fueled by brilliant insights and sudden visions. In the course of the novella, Nora Jane, Freddy and the twins' godfather, journalist and film critic Neiman Gluuk, experience a terrorist assassination of one of their friends; enroll at Berkeley for graduate studies; survive an emergency in the California wilderness; and participate in a minor miracle that employs the long arm of coincidence and a cloak worn by the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci. Gilchrist's matter-of-fact prose carries a gloss of melodrama, and her characters are given to pontificating (about such matters as the fatwa against Salman Rushdie), didactic speeches (about the makeup of the universe, etc.) and outlandish behavior. Nine additional stories make up the second section. One of them centers on Nora Jane as a "very special, charismatic" child (Gilchrist is particularly good with children's and teenagers' dialogue), and all are imbued with wry humor, nostalgia for lost innocence and gratitude for the power of memory to enrich life. Gilchrist's hand is sure, her vision keen and sometimes antic, and the world she has created in 12 previous books is expanded and enhanced by these luminous tales. (Nov.)
Library Journal
This delightful collection of stories features the complexities of love between lovers, between friends, and between parents and children. The first section consists of related stories set in Berkeley that revolve around one of Gilchrist's recurring characters, Nora Jane Whittington, and her family and friends: her wealthy husband, Freddy, owner of an independent bookstore; their twin ten-year-old daughters; and Freddy's best friend, Nieman, a San Francisco Chronicle film critic. When Nieman marries scientist Stella, Gilchrist weaves in a poignant story about Stella's cousin, who adopts two difficult girls after losing her four-year-old daughter in the Oklahoma City bombing. A second section of unrelated stories completes the collection, including one about a young man dying of AIDS who adopts an injured dog and another about a middle-aged woman reminded of the past by a former boyfriend. Gilchrist's strength lies in her well-drawn characters, who are intelligent, complex, thoughtful, and full of good intentions. Her stories are addictive and will lead readers to her other collections, the most recent of which is Rhoda, a Life in Stories (LJ 9/1/95). Highly recommended.Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316314787
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 8/31/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Perhaps a Miracle 3
Lunch at the Best Restaurant in the World 11
The Incursions of the Goddamn Wretched Past 18
On the Problem of Turbulence 37
You Must Change Your Life 84
The Brown Cape 109
The Affair 133
Design 145
A Wedding by the Sea 160
New Orleans 185
A Man Who Looked Like Me 199
Paradise 209
Fort Smith 225
Desecration 235
Update 245
The Dog Who Delivered Papers to the Stars 249
An Ancient Rain Forest, or, Anything for Art 269
Excitement, Part I 279
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2001

    An eery read post 9/11

    This collection of stories is up to the quality any fan of Gilchrist would expect. However, reading it after the events of this fall made it resonate for me in a way it probably wouldn't have if I picked it up sooner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2000

    classic gilchrist

    Having been a fan of Ellen Gilchrist for years, I found this book to be simply more of the extraordinary same...wonderful characters, larger-than-life plots, skilled and effortless writing. Gilchrist, as always, writes about not what is, but what should be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 1999

    Gratuitous Arab-Bashing?

    I was enjoying this book a lot until about page 52 where the author abruptly launches into a puzzling session of what seems to me to be gratuitous and offensive bashing of Arabs and Moslems. I am a trained reader, and have reread this section several times and can find no explanation for it. I wonder what Gilchrist was thinking?

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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