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News of the Spirit
by Lee Smith
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0449002268, Paperback)The warmhearted Southern women who narrate Lee Smith's latest collection of short stories share oddball sensibilities and an irrepressible urge to tell all. In fact, they are the friendliest, most garrulous bunch of liars, posers, and voyeurs you ever met. Although the young narrator in "Live Bottomless" habitually bicycles around town and peeks in windows, for instance, she feels little guilt about it. Instead, she congratulates herself for being such a go-getter: "It was amazing what you could see, especially if you were an athletic and enterprising girl such as myself." There is something very likeable about the young girl's optimism in the face of the sadness she witnesses at home and all across town.
Elsewhere, Smith explores the uses of storytelling itself. In the book's first piece, a college freshman tells her sorority sisters that she has a wild brother named Bubba just to make her life seem more exciting. It works, and lying becomes one of the aspiring writer's favorite pastimes. In "The Happy Memories Club," an old woman in a nursing home joins a writing group and shares the grim stories of her youth with the other members, shocking them. The stories don't make the old woman sad--in fact, reciting them seems to sustain her at a time when her health is declining rapidly. Lee Smith's stories are light but infectious, the kind of literary confections it's tempting to consume a handful at a time. Fans of Ellen Gilchrist and Bobbie Ann Mason are likely to enjoy these tales of strong, occasionally tipsy women and their wild, wild families. --Jill Marquis
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:04 -0400)
A collection of Southern stories. The title story is on a reunion between estranged twins, in Live Bottomless a girl accompanies her parents to Key West for a "geographical cure" of their marriage, while The Happy Memories Club is on memory among the old.
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