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The stories of Alice Adams.
Alice Adams
Adult Fiction ADAMS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her long and prolific career, Adams produced five collections of stories (as well as 11 novels). Now, three years after her death, Knopf is republishing 53 of those deft and delicate stories in one volume, reprising Adams's career. Readers already in love with Adams will be pleased to re-encounter-and those new to her pleased to discover-the seemingly offhand openings that carry the reader deep into the story, the swift characterizations, the effortless shifts in point of view and, of course, the almost casual but dazzling sentences. Most often the protagonists are women, usually negotiating love. But Adams also wrote affectingly about mothers and daughters; the seeds for the many mother/daughter novels of the '80s and '90 must lie in her stories. Adams might have been the first to write about the hippie mother going from one abusive boyfriend to another ("By the Sea"); in the ravishing "Roses, Rhododendrons," a girl befriends the Farrs, a family with high-class pretensions, while her envious mother watches from afar. Adams often wrote about the privileged and famous, portraying actresses, concert pianists, even heiresses with deliciously messy lives. But she wrote with an awareness that privilege comes and goes and is often hard-won. Taken together, these stories betray the changing mores of the past half-century; taken in sequence, they trace the changes in the American short story over the past 40 years, some of those changes wrought by Adams herself. Adams could have been characterizing her own work when she described the Farrs' yard in "Roses, Rhododendrons": "The effect was rich and careless, generous and somewhat mysterious. I was deeply stirred." As will be her readers. (Nov. 12) Forecast: Most of Adams's story collections are out of print, so this volume is well-timed and will likely become a backlist standard. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

When Adams died in 1999, her gift for creating the familiar landscapes of interior life with pitch-perfect diction was forever silenced. Thanks to this mammoth compilation of 53 of her very best stories, however, readers have a chance to savor her magic. Tale after tale examines men and women of all ages who are baffled by the untidiness of love in all its troubling permutations. In "The Islands," for instance, she takes the kind of harmless, quirky behavior that one thinks is crazy and bothersome and with a journalist's precision turns it into reassurance. In "A Very Nice Dog," she tempers the mood with an element of childlike wonder at life's simple pleasures. And though she holds her sharp wit at bay through much of the polite wrangling of lovers and ex-lovers, she revels in letting it out in delightfully measured doses, as in "The Visit." In the hands of an artist, a well-placed brush stroke can evoke a bird in flight or a shadow. Similarly, with her pen Adams indeed became the master of the encapsulated moment. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/02.] Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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