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Where the Light Falls Summary and Reviews

Where the Light Falls

Selected Stories of Nancy Hale

by Nancy Hale, edited by Lauren Groff

Where the Light Falls by Nancy Hale, edited by Lauren Groff X
Where the Light Falls by Nancy Hale, edited by Lauren Groff
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2019
    384 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

Lauren Groff invites a new generation of readers to rediscover the haunting stories of a neglected mid-century master.

A teenage girl in Connecticut driven to near delirium over her burgeoning sexuality. A twenty-something New Yorker transplanted to a small Virginia community who boldly befriends the town pariah. A New England widow in search of alcohol and excitement while babysitting her grandson. A Maryland socialite who has built a secret bomb shelter that becomes the center of her imaginative life. 

These are some of the characters who inhabit Nancy Hale's lush fiction. Haunting, vivid, and wonderfully subversive, Hale's stories typically concern women recognizable to all of us—sometimes fragile, possibly wicked, deceptively ordinary, navigating their way uncertainly through life. 

Nancy Hale was one of the most accomplished short story artists of her era, winner of ten O. Henry Awards and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker from the 1930s to the 1960s. But by the time of her death in 1988, this remarkable writer, so far ahead of her time in her depiction of complex women, was largely forgotten. Now Lauren Groff reintroduces this modern master with a selection of twenty-five of her best stories— brilliant short fiction that encompasses childhood and adolescence, marriage and motherhood, desire and infidelity, madness and memory. 

Where the Light Falls reveals Hale as a gifted stylist—a painter in light and shadow—and an acute observer of modern American life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Extensively published in the New Yorker and the winner of 10 O. Henry Awards, Hale's insightful, artfully constructed stories remain irresistible—and relevant—today." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Hale's prose is elegant without calling attention to itself, like the well-cut dresses one is sure her female characters wear...Classic examples of the art of short fiction, capturing the variety of human experience with sophisticated economy." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A towering talent is returned to the spotlight. Treat yourself to this collection of Hale's best short stories about ordinary women coping with the strains of their demanding lives." - Jessica Dukes, Celadon Books

"Nancy Hale's touch was so precise and delicate that you might think you're reading undiscovered Edith Wharton stories. Seen anew in Lauren Groff's excellent selection, these stories are very much of-the-moment. What an exhilarating book!" - Ann Beattie, author of A Wonderful Stroke of Luck

"It is a joy to read Nancy Hale this way—in a sharp collected volume that shows the best of this masterful writer's stories and range. Hale's eye for detail imbues her depictions of everyday life with quiet devastation and complex humanity. Hale belongs in the canon of short fiction, which makes this work an overdue treasure." - Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Almost Famous Women

"It's crazy that Nancy Hale—one of the most decorated short story writers of her time—is largely unknown to contemporary readers. This collection will remedy that." - Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

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More Information

Nancy Hale (1908–1988), born in Boston to a family whose forebearers include Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale and Harriet Beecher Stowe, was the author of eight novels, including the best-selling The Prodigal Women, four short story collections, two memoirs, two plays, children's stories, and a biography of Mary Cassatt. With the writer Elizabeth Coles Langhorne, she was a cofounder of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

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