The Magellan House

Overview

The Magellan House cuts to the bone, its characters trying to maintain their decency and sanity while surrounded by duplicitous, confused, manipulative people. In Fugitive Color, an American painter's year in Provence teaching for at an idyllic art college is destroyed by the perverse intrigues of staff and students; In The Magellan House, a poor family takes over their landlord's seaside mansion after the revolution in Portugal-but their daughter maintains a secret love affair with a scion of the deposed family;...
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Overview

The Magellan House cuts to the bone, its characters trying to maintain their decency and sanity while surrounded by duplicitous, confused, manipulative people. In Fugitive Color, an American painter's year in Provence teaching for at an idyllic art college is destroyed by the perverse intrigues of staff and students; In The Magellan House, a poor family takes over their landlord's seaside mansion after the revolution in Portugal-but their daughter maintains a secret love affair with a scion of the deposed family; In The Head of Farnham Hall a headmaster is forced to leave her post because a student wrongly accused of death-threats takes pathological advantage of the contrition owed her; In The Doll House, a rural French priest is ruined by his own innocence, incapable of grasping the modern world around him in all its obscenity; In The Morse Operator, a brilliant decipherer of Morse Code can't navigate the military intelligence of the American Army during World War II; And in The Shape of the Past, a respectable widower defends himself against charges of child molestation that are alleged to have occurred decades earlier. In total, this collection is wrenching, but redemptive. Gardiner's graceful, sophisticated prose mirrors the dignity of characters who refuse to succumb to the shifting, double-dealing world.

Author Biography: John Rolfe Gardiner is the author of four previous novels-Somewhere in France, Great Dream from Heaven, Unknown Soldiers, and In the Heart of the Whole World-and two collections of stories, Going On Like This and The Incubator Ballroom. He is the winner of a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award. His stories frequently appear in The New Yorker. He lives in Middleburg, Virginia, with his wife and his daughter.

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Editorial Reviews

Gary Krist
Reality is a slippery concept for the characters who populate The Magellan House, John Rolfe Gardiner's new collection of short fiction. Time after time in these stories, people find themselves confronted with differing and often contradictory versions of reality, each competing for belief, each carrying with it its own interpretation of events. The only constant in such a compromised environment, it would seem, is betrayal -- betrayal by people, by memory, by a character's own complacent or deluded reading of the world.
The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582432335
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 8/16/2004
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 10.74 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

The voyage out 1
Fugitive color 39
The doll house 89
The Ricus Adams 125
Morse operator 157
Leaving Port McHair 177
The head of Farnham Hall 207
The shape of the past 237
The Magellan house 261
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