News of the Spirit

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Putnam, 1997 - Fiction - 267 pages
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In 'Live Bottomless, ' 13-year-old Jenny tells the painful and hilarious tale of her philandering father's fall from grace and the family's subsequent trip to Keys West as her parents attempt a 'geographical cure' for their troubled marriage. In 'The Southern Cross, ' Chanel, a girl of easy virtue and dubious reputation, chronicles her cruise around the Caribbean with three Atlanta developers. 'I may be old, but I'm not dead, ' begins Alice Scully, scandalizing her retirement-home writers' group in 'The Hap Memories Club.' And prim, old-maid Sarah is titillated by the housekeeper's horrific account of her daughter's 'blue wedding.' In 'The Bubba Stories, ' Charlene Christian explains, 'I made Bubba up in the spring of 1963 in order to increase my popularity with my girlfriends'; but this legendary brother takes on a life of his own. Paula's damaged brother Johnny, in the title story, is 'writing a new kind of book, ' constructing another narrative of his tragic life. Brothers, sisters, and friends appear in these stories as the narrators' other selves, offering other possibilities. Here we have news of the spirit, indeed: stories about longing and despair and imagination and grace, about love in all its strange and shifting forms.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

All six of the stories in Smith's third collection (Cakewalk, 1981; Me and My Baby View the Eclipse, 1990) have been previously published, so serious students of southern fiction will find much that's ... Read full review

News of the spirit

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The "Southernness" of the South, especially for women, is the overriding thematic impression one comes away with after reading this engaging collection of short stories. Set in various Southern towns ... Read full review


The Bubba Stories
Blue Wedding
Live Bottomless

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About the author (1997)

Lee Smith is a novelist, short story writer, and educator. She was born in 1944 in Grundy, Virginia. Smith attended Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. In her senior year at Hollins, Smith entered a Book-of-the-Month Club contest, submitting a draft of a novel called The Last Day the Dog Bushes Bloomed. The book, one of 12 entries to receive a fellowship, was published in 1968. Smith wrote reviews for local papers and continued to write short stories. Her first collection of short stories, Cakewalk, was published in 1981. Smith taught at North Carolina State University. Her novel, Oral History, published in 1983, was a Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection. She has received two O. Henry Awards, the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction, the North Carolina Award for Fiction, the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award, and the Academy Award in Literature presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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