The Nightingales of Troy: Stories of One Family's Century

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2008 - Fiction - 254 pages
27 Reviews
In 1908, Mamie Garrahan faces childbirth aided by her arsenic-eating sister-in-law Kitty, a nun who grows opium poppies, and a doctor who prescribes Bayer Heroin. "In the twentieth century, I believe there are no saints left," Mamie remarks. But her daughters and granddaughter test this notion with far-reaching consequences. Kitty's arsenic reappears sixty years later in the hands of her distraught niece. A schoolgirl's passion for the Beatles and Melville—a passion both lonely and funny—shapes her life. Each decade is illuminated by endearingly eccentric characters: an anorexic waitress falls for a wealthy college boy in the jazz exuberant young nurse questions science during the Depression...a homely seamstress designs a scandalous dress in the 1950s. The Nightingales of Troy, the first fiction collection by an acclaimed American poet, creates a vividly palpable sense of time and place. Alice Fulton's memorable characters confront the deepest dilemmas with bravery and abiding love.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

An excellent read with really beautiful writing! - Goodreads
I especially appreciate the pacing of the book. - Goodreads
The writing is also tremendous. - Goodreads

Review: The Nightingales of Troy: Stories of One Family's Century

User Review  - Eva - Goodreads

My favorite character is this lovely book is a funny, eccentric, willful, and dedicated nurse called Annie (named after Anne of Green Gables). The book begins with her birth and traverses the 20th ... Read full review

Review: The Nightingales of Troy: Stories of One Family's Century

User Review  - Amanda - Goodreads

I really wanted to like this book. It had good moments, but the story collection format made it difficult to really get to know the characters. I liked some characters and others were boring. I prefer novels that take you deep into a person's life. Read full review

Selected pages


19081909 Mamie Flynn Garrahan
1919 Peg Flynn
1925 Charlotte Garrahan
Annie Garrahan
1947 Edna Garrahan Kelly Dorothy Garrahan
1956 Charlotte Garrahan Willoughby
1966 Ruth Livingston
19721974 Edna Garrahan Kelly OKeefe
Ruth Livingston
1999 Ruth Livingston Annie Garrahan Livingston

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Alice Fulton's honors include aMacArthur Award and the BobbittNational Prize for Poetry. Her workhas appeared in The New Yorker, TheAtlantic, Tin House, and elsewhere.She teaches at Cornell University andlives in Ithaca, New York.

Bibliographic information