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Short Story Collection Review    


The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress: Stories
By Michelle Richmond
University of Massachusetts Press, 2001
ISBN: 1-55849-315-8



Michelle Richmond's impressive debut collection, The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress, was the 2000 Winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Short Fiction.

The nineteen linked stories of four sisters from the Gulf Coast region of Alabama first appeared in: Glimmer Train, Brevity, Other Voices, Gulf Coast, and The Florida Review.

Richmond introduces readers to an unforgettable extended family to whom concealment comes more easily than honesty.

In "Intermittent Waves of Unusual Size and Force," a father who may or may not have abandoned his wife and daughters, returns from California when a massive hurricane threatens his family.

Darlene, the oldest daughter, teaches her younger sisters how to leave by example in "The World's Greatest Pants." She and her lover defy her parents heading for Texas in an aging El Camino. Years later, her mother can only wonder why her daughter hates men while her father shares his own marital frustrations. He understands that each of his children has inherited his need to run as well as their mother's urge to stay.

Richmond, who grew up in Alabama, makes clever use of local detail in "Slacabamorinico", which celebrates Mobile's Mardi Gras and "O-lama-lama" which delves into religious fundamentalism and local customs in Fairhope, Alabama.

Michelle Richmond, who currently teaches writing in San Francisco, earned her MFA from the University of Miami.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

2002 Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved