An Afternoon with Allan Gurganus
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One of “the best writers of our time” (Ann Patchett) offers this hilarious yet haunting cycle of stories—all previously uncollected.
Since the explosive publication of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus has dazzled readers as “the most technically gifted and morally responsive writer of his generation” (John Cheever). He has been praised as "one of America’s preeminent novelists, our prime conductor of electric sentences" (William Giraldi). Above all, Allan Gurganus is a seriously funny writer, an expert at evoking humor, especially in our troubled times.
Now he offers nine classic tales—never before between covers. They attest to his mastery of the short story and the growing depth of his genius.? Offering characters antic and tragic, Gurganus charts the human condition—masked and unmasked—as we live it now. “Once upon a time” collides with the everyday. We meet a mortician whose dedication to his departed clients exceeds all legal limits. We encounter a seaside couple fighting to save their family dog from Maine’s fierce undertow. A virginal seventy-eight-year-old grammar school librarian has her sole erotic experience with a polyamorous snake farmer. A vicious tornado sends twin boys aloft, leaving only one of them alive. And, in an eerily prescient story, cholera strikes a rural village in 1849 and citizens come to blame their doomed young doctor who saved hundreds.
These meticulously crafted parables recall William Faulkner’s scope and Flannery O’Connor’s corrosive wit. Imbuing each story with charged drama, Gurganus, a sublime ventriloquist, again proves himself among our funniest writers and our wisest.
Allan Gurganus is widely translated, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Adaptations of his fiction have earned four Emmys, and his stories have been appearing in The New Yorker since 1974. He lives in a small town in North Carolina.
This event is part of Reader Meet Writer Author Series.