Rhoda: A Life in Stories

Overview

Over the past ten years, Gilchrist fans have enjoyed glimpses of headstrong, redheaded Rhoda in five previous collections. Here, for the first time, are the collected Rhoda stories - including two new ones - offering a full-blown portrait of a woman worth waiting for: one of contemporary literature's most enchanting characters, in all her wicked glory.

With a high libido and reckless courage to match, Rhoda is one of those irresistible people who never hold back or take ...

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Overview

Over the past ten years, Gilchrist fans have enjoyed glimpses of headstrong, redheaded Rhoda in five previous collections. Here, for the first time, are the collected Rhoda stories - including two new ones - offering a full-blown portrait of a woman worth waiting for: one of contemporary literature's most enchanting characters, in all her wicked glory.

With a high libido and reckless courage to match, Rhoda is one of those irresistible people who never hold back or take convention too seriously. In these twenty-three stories, arranged chronologically, we follow Rhoda from a precocious kid with a movie-star complex to a coed who makes love to a fraternity boy, and the next week elopes with him, to a middle-aged writer looking for a fling in the age of AIDS.

This complete retrospective collection of stories, plus two new ones, features every reader's favorite Ellen Gilchrist character--Rhoda Katherine Manning, a headstrong redhead who has broken hearts and made trouble in all five of Gilchrist's previous story collections.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gilchrist's fictional Southern belle turned writer, Rhoda Manning, has appeared in all five of her previous short-story collections and in the novel Net of Jewels. Rhoda loves to shop, swear and get her own way; she has always been a vivid and indelible character. This welcome if inconsistent collection assembles all 21 of the Rhoda stories, an excerpt from Net of Jewels plus two new tales. The pieces are arranged in chronological order of Rhoda's age-from eight to 60. There's also an introduction by the author admitting that some of the stories are ``made up'' while others are ``blatantly autobiographical.'' True or not, the exploits of Rhoda in her youth (which make up most of the book) are generally better than the portraits of Rhoda in midlife or later, and nearly a decade of Rhoda's life-from 27 to 39-is missing. Thus there is no transition between the spoiled, impetuous rich girl who gulps diet pills, drinks a lot and, while reading Hemingway, comments about his ``terrible looking'' wife and the middle-aged Rhoda who, a few pages later, places her work with the Paris Review as easily as she might buy a new outfit. And as a biography of sorts, there are other inconsistencies-for example, the age that Rhoda runs away to get married differs in three stories. Despite the distractions, Rhoda remains the same sassy and outspoken gal she has always been and always will be. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Prolific author Gilchrist (Age of Miracles, LJ 4/1/95) has a winner in this delightful collection that includes old favorites plus two new stories about Rhoda Katherine Manning as she ages from ten to 58. Red-haired, spunky, and precocious, Rhoda grows up in the shadow of World War II, experiencing rites of passage that include puberty, drinking, first love, and elopement. Adulthood brings obsessions with sex, alcohol, her appearance, and her father's wealth. Increasingly promiscuous, Rhoda is wild, confused, and unhappy, gaining direction only after finally attaining success as a writer. An independent but impetuous thinker, Rhoda is as real as anyone who has ever "lived" in a book. Recommended for all public libraries.Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316314640
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 419
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

Revenge 3
Nineteen Forty-one 20
The Tree Fort 28
The Time Capsule 38
1944 49
Victory Over Japan 54
Perils of the Nile 67
Blue Satin 77
The Expansion of the Universe 92
Music 112
Some Blue Hills at Sundown 143
Excerpts from Net of Jewels 148
Adoration 177
1957, a Romance 185
Love of My Life 203
Drunk Every Day 227
Joyce 247
Going to Join the Poets 260
A Statue of Aphrodite 285
Mexico 304
Paris 373
A Wedding in Jackson 392
The Uninsured 410
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2002

    An extraordinary tombelle...

    Yes, it's occasionally inconsistent. Yes, a big chunk of her protagonist's life is missing in this quirky collection of short stories. But who cares? In Rhoda, Ellen Gilchrist has created the most extraordinary, maddening, delightful character, a precocious little girl who isn't afraid to be true to herself, a wise woman who eats men like air. I found the stories of Rhoda as a child particularly wonderful. If Kay Thompson's Eloise had been raised up south of the Mason-Dixon, she'd be something like Rhoda. What joy! what terrible innocence and self-involvement. Gilchrist can write the voice and thoughts of a child magnificently. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It really enchanted and inspired me; I'm now ravenously hungry for the rest of Gilchrist's works.

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