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Posted March 20, 2013
Irresistible Southern fiction! Don't let the title throw you off; this is not a book about World War II. Rather, it is a richly imagined short story collection set in and around New Orleans and San Francisco in the 70s and 80s. It follows some of Ellen Gilchrist's most iconic and recurring characters--Rhoda Manning, Nora Jane, Crystal, and Traceleen. As a reader of primarily young adult and women’s fiction novels, I loved the development of these women over the various stories--we see Rhoda as a young child, teenager, and adult, which gives the reader a unique insight into her coming of age. She's precocious, obstinate, love-struck, scheming, wise, and yet naive all wrapped up in one. Gilchrist's ability to create complex characters that jump off the page is truly masterful; the women she follows tend to be spoiled, dramatic, and over-the-top but they're thoroughly enjoyable, compelling, and relatable, which I think is an incredibly difficult thing to pull off. Their voices are distinct and authentic, and Gilchrist's language is evocative with humor and wit shining through. Just take the chapter and section titles--some of my favorites are “Crazy, Crazy Now Showing Everywhere” and “Miss Crystal’s Maid Name Traceleen, She’s Talking, She’s Telling Everything She Knows”. Highly recommended for readers of women’s fiction, literary fiction, and Southern fiction.
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Posted May 9, 2013
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