Legacies

Overview

"These finely crafted stories expose the author's wicked intent-to place the reader defenseless in the path of onrushing truth. With the assistance of some unforgettable characters, Starling Lawrence succeeds admirably."—Harper Lee
Starling Lawrence's evocative and subtle stories are about illuminations that alter the course of ordinary lives, about moments where the known world is dissolved in fierce recognition. In stories such as "Legacy" or "The Chosen People" the defining moment takes place in childhood, and...

See more details below
Paperback
$18.19
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$19.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $2.76   
  • New (7) from $4.64   
  • Used (6) from $2.76   
Sending request ...

Overview

"These finely crafted stories expose the author's wicked intent-to place the reader defenseless in the path of onrushing truth. With the assistance of some unforgettable characters, Starling Lawrence succeeds admirably."—Harper Lee
Starling Lawrence's evocative and subtle stories are about illuminations that alter the course of ordinary lives, about moments where the known world is dissolved in fierce recognition. In stories such as "Legacy" or "The Chosen People" the defining moment takes place in childhood, and we are left to wonder what burden of memory these events will impose. For the protagonists of "Butterflies" and "The Crown of Light," or for the narrator of "Immortality," a seed that has been sown years earlier comes to flower under very specific circumstances. "Eight fictional reflections on the nature of love and loss, written with such grace and devotion to character that they echo like elegy in the reader's mind. . . . A writer notable for his ability to create fully imagined lives, and to convey these to us in sure and elegant prose. . . . Evocative fictional debut."—Jessica Treadway, Boston Globe "Super . . . bright and illuminating. . . . Each of his stories works like a cunning, cruel trap and readers will soon thank Lawrence for setting them up, even as they realize it is happening again."—Cleveland Plain Dealer "Elegantly built and taunting mazes and mirror-shows. . . . Fascinating."—San Jose Mercury News

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It is always interesting when a publishing figure turns author, and in the case of Norton editor-in-chief Lawrence, it is good to report that a considerable talent is at work. The title of this story collection is appropriate, for many of Lawrence's finely crafted tales are reminiscences, of vital moments in mostly quiet lives. He has a real knack for the telling physical detail, and for the kind of obsessions-sometimes sexual, sometimes memories of childhood betrayals-that can help define a life. The lead story, "The Crown of Light," is a beautifully written piece about an elderly farmer who achieves a mystical apotheosis. "The Gift" and "Reunion" are both concerned with erotic yearnings that distort apparently normal lives, and "Desire Lines" is a haunting tale of birdwatchers in New York's Central Park that moves into decidedly eerie territory. The stories do not so much end as pause on the brink of change or discovery, and in their subtle way they are all the more rewarding for that restraint. They are unfashionable in their observant, old-fashioned attention to atmosphere and setting, but for connoisseurs of elegant style and quiet penetration they should prove highly rewarding. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Eight graceful stories in a debut collection from Norton's editor in chief: tales that vary greatly in subject and setting but rely on a similar sense of revelation, and on the "weak magic" provided by light.

The play of shadow and illumination figures prominently in Lawrence's imagistic tales, whether he's rendering moments of hazy nostalgia or highlighting an edgy sexuality. In fact, the sexual stories, with their suggestions of forbidden love, often verge on the kinky. In "Reunion," a Minnesota housewife whom friends consider "logical" and "consistent" decides to meet with her former lover from New York, a man she hasn't seen in ten years; but a degrading experience on the bus to Duluth turns her desire into a fierce appetite for violent revenge. "The Gift" explores sadomasochism quite explicitly in the tale of a married man, frightened by his own desire for another woman, with whom he explores rough sex. The sexual secrets of Central Park rambles reveal themselves in "Desire Lines," in which a young woman's passion for bird-watching results in an unexpected act of violence. Lawrence also tells a number of stories from a young boy's perspective: A privileged youth in "Legacy" seeks his lawyer father's advice concerning a ribbon display promised him by his dying great-aunt; another boy grows up in a multigenerational, bookish household in which the men tirelessly discuss the aftermath of WW II, which took the health of the boy's uncle; and in "Immortality," the narrator, who feared his great-aunt's obese adopted daughter, discovers in adulthood that she was probably his father's lover early on. Precious memories cloud the minds of dying old folks in airless tales of an old Connecticut farmer ("The Crown of Light") and a great-grandmother at a family gathering ("Butterflies").

Lawrence's deliberate tales quietly develop considerable force, displaying nuanced, careful artistry.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393318692
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/1998
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Starling Lawrence is editor at large at W. W. Norton and the author of the highly praised Montenegro and The Lightning Keeper. His fiction has been awarded the Lytle Prize by the Sewanee Review and the Balch Prize by the Virginia Quarterly Review

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)