Friday, September 20, 2013 —
The third novella, “Decoy,” is the history of a relationship between two men. One is a beloved family doctor, part of an established Falls family. The other is a newcomer, who came from the poverty of struggling farm life, but has achieved modest financial success and near acceptance by Falls’s elite. When the doctor retires, their friendship is disturbed and then swept away by a “Fran-like” flood that destroys both men’s homes and much of Falls.
With these three stories, Gurganus demonstrates that he has not lost the story-telling power that propelled him to fame.
And he leaves us hoping that we will not have to wait so long for his next offering.
Others agree. John Irving, author of “The World According to Garp,” writes, “Gurganus’s storytelling is flawless. His narration becomes a Greek chorus, Sophocles in North Carolina. Gurganus makes the preternatural feel natural. Sexual taboos, a parent’s worst fears: these emerge in tones comic and horrifying. Each novella delivers an ending of true force.”
Ann Patchett, author of “Bel Canto” and a former student of Gurganus, says he “breathes so much life into the town of Falls, his reader is able to walk down the streets and mingle with the local souls. This book underscores what we have long known — Gurganus stands among the best writers of our time.”
More important than this praise, Gurganus’s fiction gives us a true look at our fellow North Carolinians in a struggling region as they cope with the challenges of contemporary times.
D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch”, which airs Sundays at 12 p.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV.