The beloved author of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All returns with nine short stories that capture the strange lives of a host of offbeat characters, from a journalist who interviews a legendary cyclone survivor to a cop who catches an undertaker in a nefarious act.
There aren't too many American authors for whom the publication of a new book is a bona fide literary event, but Allan Gurganus is one of them ... The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus is his first book since 2013, and it's more than worth the wait. The collection is Gurganus at his finest: funny, compassionate, and marked by the author's amazing ability to reflect the lightness — and darkness — in the souls of his fascinating characters ... This is a remarkable book, and it proves once again why Gurganus is one of the country's most talented and imaginative writers. Coming after a year where nothing went right, and the world was forced to realize that things might not work out in the end, it's a hopeful tonic.
... wise and funny tales ... If sentiments seem easily derived in a few stories, in the best ones, mysteries...illuminate larger truths about love, loyalty and the persistence of memory. Most of Gurganus' stories are filled with hope ... One hilarious observation or action follows another.
Mr. Gurganus is compelled by the grotesque and the miraculous alike, so his stories shift from recounting an act of depravity at a funeral home to unfolding the incredible tale of a child who was carried across town by a cyclone and lived to tell about it. Wonder is the common denominator; Mr. Gurganus’s narrators are constantly struck by the irreducible strangeness of ordinary existence ... the stories are as much about the telling as the events. They’re blowsy, protracted, full of hemming and hawing. Like the old-timer beside you at the diner counter, they take a certain mischievous pleasure in withholding the endings to keep the audience captive ... The payoffs do eventually arrive with wonderful revelatory flourishes that burnish the legend of Mr. Gurganus’s everyman town.