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The Practical Heart

Gurganus, Allan

143 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0933598491 / ISBN 13: 9780933598492
Published by North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, Rocky Mount NC, 1993
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Row By Row Bookshop (Sugar Grove, NC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed. A Fine copy in pictorial hard covers. Number 964 of 1000 copies signed by the author at the limitation page. Nicely inscribed and signed by the author at the half title page. Bookseller Inventory # 039607

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Practical Heart

Publisher: North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, Rocky Mount NC

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: Limited Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

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

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

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