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Literary Classic Review   


The Annunciation (Voices of the South Series)
By Ellen Gilchrist
LSU Press, 2001
ISBN: 0-8071-2736-1



The Annunciation, Ellen Gilchrist's debut novel, foreshadows the themes Gilchrist returns to repeatedly throughout her works -- growing up, leaving home, falling in and out of love, and trying again.

Amanda McCamey's relatives can't see what is plain to everyone else around them. Amanda is in love with her cousin Guy and nothing but trouble can come from the relationship. At fourteen, she becomes pregnant and is sent off to a home for unwed mothers in New Orleans while Guy is sent off to Ole Miss on a football scholarship. Neither is strong enough to fight their grandmother's wishes. She's run a Mississippi Delta plantation for years. Two teenagers will not get the best of her.

After her youthful indiscretion, Amanda almost becomes the woman her family expects her to be. She marries New Orleans wealth, joins the right country clubs, supports the arts, and almost acts like a matron until her early forties when her restless nature surfaces again.

Amanda McCamey Ashe returns to college to pursue her love of languages and literature.  When the opportunity arises to go to the University of Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains to work on translations, she divorces her husband, takes back her maiden name, sells her possessions, and plans a life alone writing. An infatuation with a young musician becomes a grand and seemingly impossible passion. Amanda's work on the life of an eighteenth-century French poetess parallels her own life in ways she never could have imagined.

The Annunciation is a memorable, rich, evocative novel.

Ellen Gilchrist, winner of the National Book Award for Victory Over Japan, had been writing fiction since the early 1970s. She now lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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