Local Souls

  • by Allan Gurganus
  • Narrated by Allan Gurganus
  • 12 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With the meteoric success of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus placed himself among America’s most original and emotionally engaged storytellers. If his first comic novel mapped the late nineteenth-century South, Local Souls brings the twisted hilarity of Flannery O’Connor kicking into our new century.
Through memorable language and bawdy humor, Gurganus returns to his mythological Falls, North Carolina, home of Widow. This first work in a decade offers three novellas mirroring today’s face-lifted South, a zone revolutionized around freer sexuality, looser family ties, and superior telecommunications, yet it celebrates those locals who have chosen to stay local. In doing so, Local Souls uncovers certain old habits - adultery, incest, obsession - still very much alive in our New South, a "Winesburg, Ohio" with high-speed Internet.
Wells Tower says of Gurganus, "No living writer knows more about how humans matter to each other." Such ties of love produce hilarious, if wrenching, complications: "Fear Not" gives us a banker's daughter seeking the child she was forced to surrender when barely fifteen, only to find an adult rescuer she might have invented. In "Saints Have Mothers," a beloved high school valedictorian disappears during a trip to Africa, granting her ambitious mother a postponed fame that turns against her. And in a dramatic "Decoy," the doctor-patient friendship between two married men breaks toward desire just as a biblical flood shatters their neighborhood and rearranges their fates.
Gurganus finds fresh pathos in ancient tensions: between marriage and Eros, parenthood and personal fulfillment. He writes about erotic hunger and social embarrassment with Twain's knife-edged glee. By loving Falls, Gurganus dramatizes the passing of Hawthorne’s small-town nation into those Twitter-nourished lives we now expect and relish.
Four decades ago, John Cheever pronounced Allan Gurganus "the most technically gifted and morally responsive writer of his generation." Local Souls confirms Cheever’s prescient faith. It deepens the luster of Gurganus’s reputation for compassion and laughter. His black comedy leaves us with lasting affection for his characters and the aching aftermath of human consequences. Here is a universal work about a village.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

a soulthern town then, and now

Would you listen to Local Souls again? Why?

Books narrated by the author are ones to aim for and Gurganus' voice is perfect in its pace, emotion and undersanding of the nuance of his stories. Wonderful.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Will Mabry is a complicated and thooughtful character in "Decoys" and his view of his own life spanning country to city and poor to middle class is really a wonderful and sympathetic portrayal of both. Small towns have been the subject of way too many uninterestng and overwrought novels and stories but Will's voice, through Gurganus, is true and authentic.

What about Allan Gurganus’s performance did you like?

essential to the book

Any additional comments?

If you could get Gurganus to narrate the stories of "White People" it would be wonderful. They are some of the funniest stories I know and his voice would be terrific

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- Emeritus "bookdoc"

A Rare Gift

Allan Gurganus offers listeners the rare gift of a beautifully crafted piece of fiction and a reading that displays its every nuance. I loved every minute of it and find myself thinking of the book and hearing his voice long after I've finished. The warm and humor of his work, both the writing and the reading, could seem "folksy," but it's deeper than that, and the insights seem more hard won. It left me with a feeling of gratitude that we have this guy around.
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- Anne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-23-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios