September 8, 1994 |
Gail Godwin's new novel has a largish theme--the redemptive effect produced in others by the slow, valiant dying of an outsized protagonist--but as with some restaurants, the side dishes come off better than the main course. As Magda Danvers, a charismatic professor and author of a hugely successful book on literary visionaries, struggles feistily with terminal cancer, three others find their lives changing.
February 9, 1986 |
"The Best American Short Stories" is one of two annual anthologies that assemble some--and I stress some-- of the best short fiction published in American and Canadian magazines during the preceding year (the other is "Prize Stories/The O. Henry Awards"; a third, "The Editors' Choice: New American Stories, made its debut last year).
March 20, 2001 |
It was an editor's idea, apparently. Gail Godwin, having "just reread Conrad's two novellas 'Heart of Darkness' and 'The Secret Sharer,' " was thinking of writing a novel about "a woman's journey into the heart of darkness where she would have to confront her shadow. Sort of a modern version of what the ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna, Queen of Heaven, undertook when she set her heart on the Great Below and descended into the underworld to visit her dark sister, Queen Ereshkigal."
October 4, 1987 |
A family system is held together by years of common assumptions and a dependence on its members to play their assigned roles. While they do, the system works. But let one individual spin out of orbit and the others are flung wide, struggling for their bearings until gradually, under revised rules, they regroup. Gail Godwin's brilliant new novel, "A Southern Family," is the story of one family's regrouping in the wake of a collapse.