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Allan Gurganus's novellas expose the lives of residents of the fictional community of Falls, N.C.
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Characters and stories cross slyly between them, but they are distinct works. In the first, "Fear Not," a woman goes in search of her adopted son; in the second, "Even Saints Have Mothers," the daughter of a slightly unhinged woman is reported dead in Africa; and in the third and longest, "Decoy," the town's doctor retires, leading a friend and patient to contemplate their long parallel years.

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The first of these stories is passable, the second shouldn't have seen print, and the third, with the strongest spine and the clearest voice of the three, has definite touches of greatness in it. That variability is typical of Local Souls.

It's a book that frustrates us for what it might have been, mixing moments of tremendous delicacy and percipience with maddening slapdash nonsense. A good example is the opening story, "Fear Not.

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This is melodrama, wearisome and leaden, and it is matched in the next two stories by a return from the dead and a biblical flood. Taken collectively these commotions make Falls seem like a town imagined by Stephen King, not the cheerful regionalist microcosm Gurganus seems to hope.

Book Talk, Alan Gurganus, Local Souls: A Novel

The author was signing the books, so he bought the first one. The books, which have a deep spiritual dimension, follow the love story and lives of main characters Henry and Jenny, who meet before their freshman year in high school. Though geared toward ages 14 to 99, Gartner says the books are being gobbled up especially by the elderly. The story gives them a way to forgive. He even befriended the author, whom he talks to weekly.

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  6. About , of the books have been sold so far, he says, generating countless emails from people who claim the books have restored their faith. Scott became interested when her pastor, the Rev. James Meyer, asked if the Catholic Daughters of America organization she leads at Holy Cross might take on book sales. Gurganus' style, which is conversational, sly and subversive. The second is his patience.

    Local Souls (e-bok) | Allan Gurganus | ARK Bokhandel

    Even though none of the characters is so large as to be heroic, they are all absorbing, even the minor ones like Bill Mabry, the frail, obsessed narrator of "Decoy. An unknown error has occurred.

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