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Local Souls

Allan Gurganus

8 Reviews

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

With Local Souls, Allan Gurganus returns to the small town of Falls, North Carolina - the setting of his modern American classic Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. In this darkly funny tale of adultery, obsession and incest, Gurganus brings the twisted hilarity of Flannery O'Connor kicking into our new century.

In his first work of fiction in a decade, Allan Gurganus returns to the mythic site of his immortal novel Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.

Time has passed; the Internet has arrived; but the daily human dramas in Falls, North Carolina prove that old habits die hard. A banker's daughter seeks the child she was forced to relinquish at birth . . . The disappearance of a star high school student sends ripples through the town, creating a cult led by her stricken mother . . . The friendship between two married men is tested by a devastating flood.

Local Souls is a universal tale of gigantic hopes battling small-town conventions - a dark comedy of adultery, obsession and incest, told with affection and piercing insight.

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Praise for Local Souls

  • Brilliantly nuanced and full of compassion and dark humour. The writing more than rewards the effort it asks for. - Guardian

  • Allan Gurganus is an old-fashioned yarn spinner, a storyteller unafraid of excess . . . Masterly and deeply affecting - New York Times on Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

  • The architecture of Allan Gurganus's storytelling is flawless. His narration becomes a Greek chorus, Sophocles in North Carolina. His voice at once solitary and communal binds these three insightful novellas. Gurganus makes the preternatural feel natural. Sexual taboos, a parent's worst fears: these emerge in tones comic and horrifying. One narrator asks "Maybe the harder you avoid a thing, the greater its impact incoming?" Local Souls is notable for far more than Allan Gurganus's skilled voice. Each novella delivers an ending of true force. - John Irving

  • Allan Gurganus is our verbal magician. He turns factorial rabbits into poetic doves. Every sentence contains a surprise, but the brilliant surface doesn't dazzle us from peering into the tender human depths - Edmund White

  • In these three novellas, Allan Gurganus breathes so much life into the town of Falls, North Carolina, the reader is able to walk down its streets and mingle with the local souls. This book underscores what we have long known Allan Gurganus stands among the best writers of our time. - Ann Patchett

  • Local Souls leaves the reader surfeited with gifts. This is a book to be read for the minutely tuned music of Gurganus's language, its lithe and wicked wit, its luminosity of vision shining all the brighter for the heat of its compassion. No living writer knows more about how humans matter to each other. These are tales to make us whole. - Wells Tower

  • Allan Gurganus has the uncanny ability to make you laugh and shudder at the same time. That rare gift is on full and glorious display here. - T. C. Boyle

  • A worthy heir to Welty and Faulkner. - USA Today

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