Stock Image

THE PRACTICAL HEART: Four Novellas

Gurganus, Allan

153 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679437630 / ISBN 13: 9780679437635
Published by Alfred A Knopf, Inc., New York, NY, U.S.A., 2001
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Joe Staats, Bookseller (Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since January 20, 1999 Seller Rating 3-star rating

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 35.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.75 Within U.S.A. Destination, rates & speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

Signed by author on title page in black fountain ink. Five years in the writing, this luminous quartet of novellas by Allan Gurganus is by turns bawdy and serene, folkloric and profane, rich in event, comedy and experience. Improbable heroes and heroines spiral outward from Gurganus's familiar Carolina terrain. Each fires into a wild and differing direction, all in quest of some practically impossible fantasy of his own: an impoverished immigrant has her portrait painted (or not) by John Singer Sargent; a young man's devotion to saving eighteenth-century homes--and their odd lingering ghosts--helps him find unlikely ways to renovate his own mortality; a pillar of the community becomes, over the course of one cartoon matinee, its pariah; a beloved, transfixingly homely father shows his village, and his only son, a decency stronger than race, humiliation, or even death itself. These characters' quixotic missions prove mysterious, often even to themselves. Their legacies are not easily deciphered. And yet, their most impractical wishes soon become the heartiest facts about each. They manage to wrest battle-courage from everyday indecision. Out of superstition and convention, they lift certainty. And each finds a wealth of consoling truths banked--immortal--in the all-too-human heart. The title novella of this book won the Nation Magazine Prize. As new, unread copy, in fine, mylar-protected dust jacket. L116. Bookseller Inventory # 4656

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: THE PRACTICAL HEART: Four Novellas

Publisher: Alfred A Knopf, Inc., New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

A luminous quartet, five years in the writing, reveals even more fully the breathtaking range of "a storyteller in the grand tradition" (New York Times).

Allan Gurganus's voice--by turn bawdy and serene, folkloric and profane--deepens as it soars into this quiet masterwork. Four new fables--rich in event, comedy, experience--surge with the force of history's headlines versus sidestreet human fortitude. Improbable heroes and heroines spiral outward from Gurganus's familiar Carolina terrain. Each fires into a wild and differing direction, all in quest of some fantasy that's practically impossible:

--An impoverished immigrant has her portrait painted (or not) by John Singer Sargent.

--A young man's devotion to saving eighteenth-century homes—and their odd lingering ghosts—helps him find unlikely ways to renovate his own mortality.

--A pillar of the community becomes, over the course of one cartoon matinee, its pariah.

--A beloved, transfixingly homely father shows his village and his only son a decency stronger than race,
humiliation, or even death itself.

These characters' quixotic missions prove mysterious, often even to themselves. Their legacies are not easily deciphered. And yet, their most impractical wishes soon become the heartiest facts about each. They manage to wrest battle-courage from everyday indecision. Out of superstition and convention, they lift certainty. They each find a wealth of consoling truths banked--immortal--in the all-too-human heart.

Allan Gurganus's great powers--announced more than a decade ago by Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All--here achieve a yearning exuberance worthy of a new Whitman. These leaps of sexual longing, empathy, and faith become a major new gift from this essential fablemaker.

Review:

Allan Gurganus documents the daily dreams that sustain us. In the title novella of his extraordinary new collection, The Practical Heart, the narrator tells how his Aunt Muriel, a dour, genteel-poor Scottish immigrant, came to be painted by John Singer Sargent. This bit of family history turns out to be a fiction of the narrator's making, invented in an attempt to express how grand his aunt might have been, given an entirely different life. The other novellas likewise give us narrators interpreting and inventing the people around them. In "Preservation News" a woman eulogizes a historical preservationist who taught her the language of architecture; in "He's One, Too," a gay man looks back on his 1950s youth, when a stolid neighbor was arrested for indecent exposure in a public lavatory; in "Saint Monster," a son mourns his homely, good-hearted father, giving us parent-love as perhaps the most ordinary fantasy of all. --Claire Dederer

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

We are a long-established online bookstore specializing in Modern Literature, Mysteries/Thrillers, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, Biography, Nonfiction, Movies/Performance Arts, Short Story Collections, and Signed/Inscribed Books.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

Books shipped in secure packaging via USPS Media Mail, Priority Mail or Global
Priority Mail, upon receipt of payment, unless customer requests another method
of delivery. Shipping is within 24 hrs. of receipt of payment for money orders,
and after three business days for personal checks. All book jackets are
protected in new mylar covers from Brodart.

Customers have three business days within which to contact us with complaints
about merchandise by e-mail. Returns must be approved, in original ...

More Information
Shipping Terms:

Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check Money Order