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 Literary Classic Review   

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams
By Ellen Gilchrist
LSU (Voices of the South, reprint series), 2002
Trade paper, $15.95 (167 pages)
ISBN: 0-8071-2829-5

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams introduced Ellen Gilchrist and two of her most popular characters -- Rhonda Manning and Nora Jane Whittingtom -- to the literary world. First published in 1981, Gilchrist's debut collection of short stories was widely admired for the author's use of style and idiom.

These fourteen stories, divided into three sections -- There's a Garden of Eden, Things Like Life, and Perils of the Nile -- are about mostly young, upper-class Southern women are bored with being members of the Junior League and having babies. They long for something more than having husbands like their fathers. Some the women retreat into their imagination, while others (Rhonda Manning) retreat into their father's money. 

Gilchrist has always had an uncanny ear for the subtle detail. Her characters embrace their failures, retreat when necessary, but always hope for a freer life and uncompromising love.

Fans will want to seek out her retrospective essay, "The Middle Way: Learning to Balance Family and Work," which is included in Cathis Hanauer's excellent anthology, The Bitch in the House (William Morrow, ISBN: 0-06-621166-20). 

Ellen Gilchrist, the author of nineteen books, is the winner of the National Book Award. She currently teaches at the University of Arkansas and divides her time between Fayetteville and Ocean Springs, Mississippi. 


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

2002, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved