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Plays Well with Others

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ISBN-10: 0375702032

ISBN-13: 9780375702037

Edition: N/A

Authors: Allan Gurganus

List price: $16.00
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Description:

With great narrative inventiveness and emotional amplitude, Allan Gurganus gives us artistic Manhattan in the wild 1980s, where young artists--refugees from the middle class--hurl themselves into playful work and serious fun.  Our guide is Hartley Mims Jr., a Southerner whose native knack for happiness might thwart his literary ambitions. Through his eyes we encounter the composer Robert Christian Gustafson, an Iowa preacher's son whose good looks constitute both a mythic draw and a major limitation, and Angelina "Alabama" Byrnes, a failed deb, five feet tall but bristling with outsized talent.  These friends shelter each other, promote each other's work, and compete erotically.  When tragedy strikes, this circle grows up fast, somehow finding, at the worst of times, the truest sort of family. Funny and heartbreaking, as eventful as Dickens and as atmospheric as one of Fitzgerald's parties, Plays Well with Others combines a fable's high-noon energy with an elegy's evening grace.  Allan Gurganus's celebrated new novel is a lovesong to imperishable friendship, a hymn to a brilliant and now-vanished world.
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Book details

List price: $16.00
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/2/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

In 1966, as a conscientious objector faced with possible charges of draft evasion during the Vietnam War, Allan Gurganus found himself on a four-year tour as a message decoder on an aircraft carrier. While at sea, Gurganus, who had studied to be a painter, developed the idea for his first successful novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989) after reading an article that described how Confederate veterans were granted pensions in the 1880s, making them prime marital candidates for much younger women. The novel features Lucy Marsden, a feisty ninety-nine-year-old North Carolina widow, and spans the 1850s to the 1980s. Gurganus's subsequent books include Blessed Assurance: A Moral Tale (1989), The Practical Heart (1993), and Plays Well With Others (1997). He has written a number of short stories that have appeared in periodicals such as Granta, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper's, and Paris Review, and in books such as The Faber Book of Short Gay Fiction (1991). Eleven of his short stories are collected in The White People (1991). Gurganus was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1947 and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College (B.A., 1972) and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop (M.F.A., 1974). He has taught fiction writing at University of Iowa, Stanford University, Duke University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has had his paintings displayed in many private and public collections.