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In The Gloaming

Dark, Alice Elliott

239 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0684865211 / ISBN 13: 9780684865218
Published by Simon & Schuster, 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Bill Leone, Bookseller, ABAA (Palos Verdes Estates, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First Edition (first printing). The second story collection by the author of NAKED TO THE WAIST. The title story is the basis for the film. Fine/Fine. Signed by Dark on the title page. Bookseller Inventory # 2636

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Bibliographic Details

Title: In The Gloaming

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title


The gloaming is the hour when dawn or dusk works its spell, making all the world as purple as the Scottish highlands on a summer night. In Alice Elliott Dark's heart-catching title story, a loving mother shares this favorite time of day with her dying son, all the while realizing that for him it is already dark. "In the Gloaming" is populated by characters yearning for twilight moments, existing as they do in indeterminate emotional states not easily defined. Their hearts twist, making our own rush toward them. In "The Secret Spot," Helen dodges the knife of confession during a chance encounter with an old rival. In "Maniacs," two sisters unexpectedly see a man they have both loved. In "Dreadful Language," Frannie follows in her mother's footsteps by marrying for security rather than love. In austerely beautiful prose, Dark lays bare the emotional core of her subjects with almost surgical precision. As they go about the business of living -- caring for ailing family members, spending a lonely, sleepless night in a hotel far from home, or reminiscing in an airport coffee shop -- they reveal the ache of adoration and devotion that so poignantly marks our inner lives.


Alice Elliott Dark's second collection of stories evokes the same reaction one might have to a terribly beautiful, unabashedly smart woman--the reader is left both captivated and unnerved. Dark, of course, has a great many expectations to live up to. There's not only the success of her debut collection, Naked to the Waist, but the numerous bouquets tossed at the title story of In the Gloaming: first John Updike chose it for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century, and then it was made into a fine (and highly visible) film. Yet she meets the challenge with wide range and descriptive acuity--and, better, with an emotional intensity that unifies the entire collection. Her stories largely concern what is said, and what is unsaid, between lovers, neighbors, and family members. "In the Gloaming," for example, revolves around the valedictory conversations of a mother and her son who is dying of AIDS. In "The Secret Spot," a young wife encounters a woman whom she mistakenly identifies as a rival for her husband's affections, and chats herself into an awful, artful epiphany. The protagonist of "Dreadful Language" is haunted by her dead lover, who seems to pass judgment on the suburban existence she has settled for:

He came to me more and more often and was so himself, so surprising and other, that I had to reason with myself severely on my train rides back to Wynnemoor to remember that I was making him up. Or was I? Has anyone ever known for sure the provenance of either art or apparitions?
At times Dark demonstrates an almost Victorian impulse toward melodrama--almost because she grounds her coincidences in the ordinary mess of modern life. And her mastery of atmosphere will persuade us of almost anything. Witness the spooky and authoritative opening of "Maniacs": "Silent sound, vivid absence, pressure from beyond the quilts and walls, the taste of pennies on the tongue; several miles apart two sisters awoke within moments of each other and instinctively knew it had snowed." Whether you're seeking exquisite prose or raw emotion, you'll find yourself perfectly moved and plainly edified by Dark's capacious talent. --Amy Grace Loyd

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