Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

3.6 5
by Allan Gurganus
     
 

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Allan Gurganus's Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All became an instant classic upon its publication. Critics and readers alike fell in love with the voice of ninety-nine-year-old Lucy Marsden, one of the most entertaining and loquacious heoines in American literature.

Lucy married at the turn of the last century, when she was fifteen and her

Overview

Allan Gurganus's Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All became an instant classic upon its publication. Critics and readers alike fell in love with the voice of ninety-nine-year-old Lucy Marsden, one of the most entertaining and loquacious heoines in American literature.

Lucy married at the turn of the last century, when she was fifteen and her husband was fifty. If Colonel William Marsden was a veteran of the "War for Southern Independence", Lucy became a "veteran of the veteran" with a unique perspective on Southern history and Southern manhood. Her story encompasses everything from the tragic death of a Confederate boy soldier to the feisty narrator's daily battles in the Home--complete with visits from a mohawk-coiffed candy-striper. Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All is proof that brilliant, emotional storytelling remains at the heart of great fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ninety-five-year-old Lucy Marsden tells of her marriage at 15 to 50-year-old Civil War veteran ``Captain'' Marsden, who, permanently traumatized by events he witnessed, makes a lifetime career of reminiscing about the conflict and collecting weapons to memorialize it. PW concluded that, despite some overwritten sections, this long novel is ``an unforgettable reading experience.'' Author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Ninety-nine year old Lucille Marsden, confined to a charity nursing home in North Carolina, is an American cousin of Joyce's Anna Livia Plurabelle. Lucy tells the story of her marriage to ``Captain'' Will Marsden, ostensibly the Civil War's last survivor, whom she married when she was 15 and he was more than triple her age. She also tells about her husband's experiences in the war and after, the burning of her mother-in-law's plantation by Sherman's men, and the abduction from Africa of a former Marsden slave, midwife to Lucy's nine children as well as her best friend. But this novel is less about the War Between the States than about the war between the sexes. And, like Finnegan's Wake , it's also about how history is recorded and about how lives are turned into stories. Lucy's voice casts a spell as enchanting as Scheherazade's; a first novel to be slowly savored and richly enjoyed. BOMC selection.-- Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
From the Publisher
"Bawdy, raucous, comic... The story of the South in all its tragic and self-perceived glory."
The Boston Globe

"An old-fashioned book-lovers? novel."
Chicago Tribune

"A big book in every way, one hell of an American novel."
San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804106436
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1990
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
912
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.93(h) x 1.35(d)

Meet the Author

Allan Gurganus's The Practical Heart (0-679-43763-0) will be published by Knopf in August 2001. He lives in North Carolina.

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Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK a bit tedious a times but so was life then - I kept looking at the author's name to see it was really a guy ... such incredible insight and expression of Lucy as a child and young lady in the old South -a wonderful story and great history of the times - I read it years ago but was about to order it to read again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If this story had happened in this century the hero would be in prison for molesting a child. Both the movie and the novel are my favorite to come out of the Civil War. The story gives a peek back into the aftermath of the Civil War era. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Prescott of Newsweek summed up this book well as '...not a bad book, just an unendurable one.' I really can't remember reading a book with a bigger gallery of unlikebale characters. And Alan Gurganus seems less interested in telling us a story than exercising his hand at barely-readable colloquial monologues, lots of implausible tales, and the all-too-predicatble whining from the overworked Lucy (the window of the story) and her too-many children. Woven into this are such themes as 'men are bad, guns are bad, society is bad, women work hard and men have all the fun.' I tried hard to be amused but was mostly bored. It's an OK read during lunch at work, in little snippets that you digest as short stories, but in the end you just get tired of Lucy Marsden.