Tending to Virginia

Tending to Virginia

by Jill McCorkle
     
 

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This is the story of Virginia Turner Ballard, know to her North Carolina relatives as Ginny Sue. It's also the story of her mother, her grandmother, her great aunts, her closest cousin--three generations of women who gather around Virginia to help her at the end of a hard pregnancy, to tend to her, to help her prepare for the fourth generation. This kind of family

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Overview

This is the story of Virginia Turner Ballard, know to her North Carolina relatives as Ginny Sue. It's also the story of her mother, her grandmother, her great aunts, her closest cousin--three generations of women who gather around Virginia to help her at the end of a hard pregnancy, to tend to her, to help her prepare for the fourth generation. This kind of family attendance, this kind of tending to, is Southern to the core, offering, as it does, the occasion for reviving and trading entwined family stories. Tending to Virginia is a novel of one family's most important stories--how they happened, how they were perceived, how they were remembered, how their truth is revealed. In the end, an eruption of family confessions becomes revelation--revelation as legacy, passed down among a family's women; revelation as a family's gift in celebration of growing up, a process Jill McCorkle knows lasts into old age. In her characterizations of these vivid women playing out their generational roles in the contemporary South, McCorkle presents us with a powerful insight--that the strongest family bonds are, for better or worse, as often created by what is held back as by what is spoken.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Letting go is the theme of McCorkle's funny, wise and accomplished third novel, following The Cheer Leader and July 7th. Virginia Suzanne Ballard is 28 years old, eight months pregnant and not at all sure she wants to leave her family and move ``North'' (to Richmond) with her young lawyer husband. When stricken with toxemia, Ginny Sue is tended for a week by three generations of her family's women: Her favored grandmother Emily and great-aunt Lena, cantakerous and large-hearted widows not always willing to distinguish between past and present; her mother Hannah with her cousin Madge; and her own contemporary cousin Cindy, a brash and vulnerable, quick-spoken divorcee. Conversation among the women is woven of memories and half-remembered recollections, current misunderstandings, wishes, disappointments and a dark secret concerning Cindy's father, a Chevrolet salesman with an Egyptian obsession., With a sure touch and impeccable comic timing, McCorkle leads her characters to revelations and emotional relief during an afternoon when a tornado adds its own bit of havoc. As the family's history emerges from a flood of interrelated experiences, the narrative achieves coherent drama. This novel confirms McCorkle's place among other talented Southern storytellers. 25,000 first printing. (September 30)
Library Journal
Fears and insecurities about her future and a sense of detachment from her present life drive young, married, pregnant Virginia Sue Turner Ballard to the people and places most familiar to her. Threatened by toxemia, Virginia stays at her grandmother's house for several weeks, surrounded by the women of her family. McCorkle takes us into the house as three generations of women unfold their secret dreams, wishes, disappointments, and experiences for the first time. With humor, mystery, and insight, she portrays the bonds that tie the women of a family together. Laced with Southern dialogue and a bit of folklore, Tending to Virginia is an important addition to the works of a promising new writer (The Cheerleader, July 7th ). Recommended for general fiction collections and academic collections featuring women's literature. Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780912697659
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
09/30/1987
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
5.69(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.18(d)

Meet the Author

Jill McCorkle is the author of nine previous books—four story collections and five novels—five of which have been selected as New York Times Notable Books. The recipient of the New England Book Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Prize for Literature, she teaches writing at North Carolina State University and lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Visit her online at www.jillmccorkle.com. 

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