I Cannot Tell a Lie, Exactly: And Other Stories

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Random House, 2001 - Fiction - 220 pages
3 Reviews
It is the stuff of fiction: A collection of stories, never made public, is lost in a drawer for thirty years until, miraculously, the stories are discovered and published. It is also the true story of the book you are holding in your hands.
Mary Ladd Gavell died in 1967 at the age of forty-seven, having published nothing in her lifetime. She was the managing editor of "Psychiatry "magazine in Washington, D.C., and after her death, her colleagues ran her story "The Rotifer" in the magazine as a tribute. The story was, somehow, plucked from that nonliterary journal and selected for The Best American Short Stories 1967. And again, thirty-three years later, "The Rotifer" emerged from near obscurity when John Updike selected it for The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In his Introduction to that collection, Updike called Gavell's story a "gem" and said that her writing was "feminism in literary action."
"The Rotifer" has remained, until now, Gavell's only published work.
The sixteen stories collected here include the anthologized classic "The Rotifer," in which a young woman learns the extent to which a bit of innocent interference, or the refusal to interfere, can change the course of lives. "The Swing" depicts a mother's strange reconnection to her adult son's childhood as she is summoned outside, night after night, by the creak of his old swing. "Baucis" introduces a woman longing for widowhood who is cheated of the respite she craves and whose last words are tragically misunderstood by her family. The title story, based on the last-minute announcement by Gavell's own son that he was in a school play, is infused with the gentle humor and vivid insights that make allof Mary Ladd Gavell's stories timeless and utterly beguiling.
With the publication of I Cannot Tell a Lie, Exactly, Mary Ladd Gavell takes her rightful place among the best writers of her, and our, time.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cariola - LibraryThing

If you prefer your short stories to be rip-roarin', sexed up, or fantastic, you probably won't appreciate this collection. Gavell's stories are, for the most part, gentle slice-of-life tales of ... Read full review

I CANNOT TELL A LIE, EXACTLY: and Other Stories

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

From Gavell (1919-67), 16 mostly rural stories, many set in the south of Texas where she was born.Kaye Gibbons calls Gavell's work "magnificent," places it in the "ageless, classic grand era" of the ... Read full review

Contents

The Rotifer
17
The Infant
37
Boys
53
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Mary Ladd Gavell was born in Cuero, Texas, in 1919 and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1940. She married Stefan Gavell in 1953, and the couple had two sons. They lived in Washington, D.C., where Mary Gavell worked at<i> Psychiatry magazine. She died in 1967.

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