White People

( 2 )

Overview

In these eleven stories, Allan Gurganus—author of the highly acclaimed Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All—gives heartbreaking and hilarious voice to the fears, desires and triumphs of a grand cast of Americans.

Here are war heroes bewildered by the complex negotiations of family life, former debutantes called upon to muster resources they never knew they had, vacationing senior citizens confronted by their own bravery, and married men brought up short by the marvelous ...

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White People

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Overview

In these eleven stories, Allan Gurganus—author of the highly acclaimed Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All—gives heartbreaking and hilarious voice to the fears, desires and triumphs of a grand cast of Americans.

Here are war heroes bewildered by the complex negotiations of family life, former debutantes called upon to muster resources they never knew they had, vacationing senior citizens confronted by their own bravery, and married men brought up short by the marvelous possibilities of entirely different lives.  Written with flair, wit, and deep humanity, this award-winning volume confirms Allan Gurganus as one of the finest writers of our time.

More marvelous, memorable characters in the first short story collection by the author of the blockbuster, Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All. "A storyteller in the grand tradition . . . Gurganus can tell his stories as well as anyone in our time."--New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gurganus, a storyteller in the grand tradition...can tell his stories as well as anyone alive in our time." —The New York Times Book Review

"Ranging from family memoirs to historical pieces, from satire to surrealism, White People celebrates American culture in all its humanistic vibrancy and grotesque contradictions.  Blending trenchant satire with outrageous humor, Gurganus's stories recall both Mark Twain and Flannery O'Connor."—Chicago Tribune

"Each story is a gem."—San Francisco Chronicle

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With the publication of this virtuoso collection, Gurganus ( Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All ) has again produced a book of literary merit that deserves wide readership. In 10 stories and two novellas written over the last two decades, we meet a delightful array of characters who share the common denominator of white skin, if little else. Narrated almost entirely in an astonishing range of first-person voices, this fiction displays the depth and breadth of Gurganus's skill as a gifted raconteur. In ``Condolences to Every One of Us'' a woman describes a disastrous African package tour that leads to the death of two tourists. ``Breathing Room'' is the story of a man who is overtaken by a once sickly younger brother. At age six, he ``ached to simply arch right over him, to settle like a jar with air holes and enough floor space so he'd not be bored.'' But the story ends in a melancholy tone: ``Bradley's thirty-four, and thriving; that makes me thirty-six.'' ``America Competes'' is a hilarious send-up of arts competitions. ``Reassurance'' is a delicate letter from the grave of a Civil War casualty that takes up at the final line of Walt Whitman's letter ``Death of a Pennsylvania Soldier.'' The final piece, ``Blessed Assurance,'' is a funny, sad, confessional tale told by a man reflecting on his traumatic youth, when he collected funeral insurance premiums from poor blacks. Gurganus is a champion storyteller with particularly American roots, in the tradition of Mark Twain. This is a collection to be savored and reread while we wait for more. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Gurganus's colorful collection of stories and novellas, written from the mid-Seventies to the late Eighties, is a fine follow-up to last year's best-selling novel Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All ( LJ 5/1/89). Many of the stories are personal, even dedicated to family members, and they have decidedly autobiographical overtones. ``Minor Heroism'' tells of a war-hero father's awkward relationship to his creative, sensitive son. In ``Breathing Room,'' the older son watches as his once pale, asthmatic little brother eclipses him in size and strength. In ``A Hog Loves Its Life,'' Grandfather tried to pass on some country wisdom to his bookish grandson. Gurganus has a fluid, humorous style that gently pokes fun at and yet honors his Southern roots. This is a poignant, entertaining collection. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/90.--Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375704277
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 1,405,922
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    PERFECT

    I love short stories and these are the best i have read in a long time. I was moved by the tenderness of each story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2007

    Brilliant

    One of the best collections of fiction I have ever read. Period.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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