Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle: A Book of Stories

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9780316313186: Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle: A Book of Stories

The fourth collection of stories by Ellen Gilchrist, these tales provide a mix of favourite old characters and the introduction of several new ones. She won the 1984 American Book Award for fiction.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Although several stories in Gilchrist's ( The Anna Papers ) latest collection are distinguished by her old magic--they have energy and gusto and humor, and a dark layer of knowledge beneath their nostalgiac tone--too many of them seem self-indulgent and self-referential, as though Gilchrist is writing only for readers familiar with her established characters. So although we are glad to read the three tales that harken back to the shared childhoods of Rhoda, Dudley and Saint John, the fourth, "Mexico," in which they are jaded adults, is a disappointment. (Much married and divorced, Rhoda, who once was so fascinating, seems tasteless and self-absorbed.) Nora Jane returns in the title story and two others, and these are vivified by the debut of a new character, Lin Tan Sing, a Chinese medical student and geneticist who has analyzed Nora's amniocentesis, and predicts the futures of her unborn twins; in one of the stories, Nora gives birth to the twins in gory detail. In two other tales, unfortunately histrionic and foolishly sentimental, Barrett Clare discovers her real mother. Gilchrist's stylistic ticks--several of her characters quote Matthew Arnold, and nearly all are obsessed with the color yellow--become somewhat exasperating in a writer with talent to burn.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This fourth collection of 11 stories is a validation of the author's skill and versatility. Gilchrist creates new experiences for characters from earlier stories and from The Annunciation ( LJ 5/15/83), her first novel, and also creates new characters who reveal her skill in portraying character and place. The title story details the quirky courtship of Lin Tan Sing, a Chinese geneticist, and an American woman from Fayetteville, Arkansas. In another story Lin becomes a minor character who does the lab work for the protagonist's amniocentesis. Despite some contrived situations and strained connections, this collection is a worthwhile purchase for public libraries.
- Elizabeth Guiney Sandvick, North Hennepin Community Coll., Minneapolis
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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