Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

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Knopf, 1989 - Fiction - 718 pages
9 Reviews
A major literary event . . . an astonishing first novel of the South from the Civil War to the present in the voice of the woman who lived through it all. Sections of the book have appeared in Paris Review, Antaeus, Harper's, Atlantic and The New Yorker.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librisissimo - LibraryThing

Gave up around p. 20. Substance: First-person pseudo-memoir cum interview of nonagenarian widow of last living Confederate veteran (having married the 50+ bachelor at age 15). Gurganus tries to emulate a crusty, humorous old woman, but I didn't feel persuaded. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BobNolin - LibraryThing

As others have noted, the book is great up until about page 300. And then it sort of swerves off the road. I lost interest. Read full review

Contents

book one NOBODYS PERFECT
4
Nice Local
66
Bull Run Honeymoon
77
Copyright

21 other sections not shown

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About the author (1989)

In 1966, as a conscientious objector faced with possible charges of draft evasion during the Vietnam War, Allan Gurganus found himself on a four-year tour as a message decoder on an aircraft carrier. While at sea, Gurganus, who had studied to be a painter, developed the idea for his first successful novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989) after reading an article that described how Confederate veterans were granted pensions in the 1880s, making them prime marital candidates for much younger women. The novel features Lucy Marsden, a feisty ninety-nine-year-old North Carolina widow, and spans the 1850s to the 1980s. Gurganus's subsequent books include Blessed Assurance: A Moral Tale (1989), The Practical Heart (1993), and Plays Well With Others (1997). He has written a number of short stories that have appeared in periodicals such as Granta, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper's, and Paris Review, and in books such as The Faber Book of Short Gay Fiction (1991). Eleven of his short stories are collected in The White People (1991). Gurganus was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1947 and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College (B.A., 1972) and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop (M.F.A., 1974). He has taught fiction writing at University of Iowa, Stanford University, Duke University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has had his paintings displayed in many private and public collections.

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