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Big Stone Gap: A Novel Paperback – Apr 3 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 3 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345438329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345438324
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

In the town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, not much happens. The highlight of 35-year-old Ave Maria Mulligan's week comes on Friday, with the arrival of the Bookmobile, the sight of which sends her into raptures. Her favorite book concerns the ancient Chinese art of reading faces. Through her face-readings, we come to understand the hostilities simmering within her family: her father whose small eyes are the clear "sign of a deceptive nature." Her aunt who "has a small head and thin lips. (That's a terrible combination.)" Adriana Trigiani's first novel concerns the family scandals that befall Ave Maria in this seemingly uneventful town. Greed, lust, envy--all the ancient emotional elements--manifest themselves even in this hamlet of "ordinary folk." Fans of Fannie Flagg or Rebecca Wells will enjoy this down-home tale, full of small, everyday details and colloquial revelations. The writing is often awkward, but so too are the characters who inhabit this place: the Bookmobile lady who thinks of herself as the sexiest woman alive; the amateur actors in the local Outdoor Drama who bristle with ambition when they hear that Elizabeth Taylor is coming to visit. In Big Stone Gap, her visit is so anticipated, it's like she's an angel sent from heaven. --Ellen Williams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Trigiani's story of a middle-aged spinster finding love and a sense of self in a small Virginia coal town is a lot like a cold soda on a hot summer day: light and refreshing, if just a little too sweet. Trigiani, a playwright, filmmaker and former writer for The Cosby Show, has a Southern voice that perfectly embodies her main character, the embattled Ave Maria Mulligan. Ave Maria, who's satisfied if not exactly happy in her role as the town pharmacist, begins questioning her quiet, country life after a posthumous letter from her mother reveals a jarring secret. Ave Maria soon faces a crisis of identity, the advances of a surprising suitor and the threat of her acerbic, money-grubbing Aunt Alice. From the suitor, who points out his brand-new pickup truck during a marriage proposal, to the town temptress, who dispenses romantic advice from her bookmobile, Trigiani brings the story alive with her flexible vocal inventions. Fans of true love stories and happy endings certainly won't be disappointed. Based on the Random hardcover (Forecasts, Jan. 31).
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cathleen on March 2 2004
Format: Paperback
Ave Maria considers herself the "town spinster" in Big Stone Gap, a tiny town in the mountains of Virginia where she's the town pharmacist and booklover. Her life is peaceful, quiet, and she's seemingly content, until she reads a letter from her recently-deceased mother which changes everything. Ave's life is turned upside-down and she rethinks her personal and family history, what she needs and wants to be happy in life, and her place in the world.
A very nice and pleasing book, I plan to read the sequel. However, my one main complaint was that the characterisation here wasn't actually that impressive, compared to other aspects of the book. The men in this novel aren't discernible from one another at all. The women are written much better, but even some of them seemed more like cut-outs rather than fully-fleshed characters. That being said, Ave Maria, the main character, was written well, and I liked her and want to know her better (although, is this good or bad I wonder?) The plot was, in general, logical and neat. One full extra rating point because for some reason I can't place, I stayed up until 4am reading this book! Must be something!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 9 2010
Format: Paperback
What can I say? Another F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C book from Adriana Trigiani who never, ever fails to pen a novel that you'll never forget!

For those who read "Big Stone Gap", you will enjoy this book immeasurably and for those who haven't, it can be read as a stand-alone, however it would be best to read the first part so you'll have an idea who is who and what the changes in this novel really mean.

Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney and her beloved husband, Jack live in the lush Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Ave Maria has quite the string of quirky and absolutely adorable friends. Her family means more to her than anything, especially her daughter, Etta and the son she lost through leukemia at age four.

In this sequel, Ave Maria agrees to head up the town musical and as she's busy and in deep concentration with collecting actors, assigning parts, talking about costumes she receives an unexpected visit from a total stranger who reveals a very long held secret to her. Bad enough Ave Maria must find a way to deal with this secret but her husband, Jack becomes ill, her daughter moved away to another country and one of her old `heartthrobs' returns for a visit.

How is Ave Maria going to deal with this long held secret, worry over Jack and finding a way to reinvent her life?

This is a fabulous story as is every novel from Adriana. DON'T MISS it!!
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By Kim M on June 6 2004
Format: Paperback
Big Stone Gap is about a small Moutain town in Virginia, and the people who live there. You will meet the most wonderful people in Big Stone Gap. Some of the town members we meet include; Ave Maria the local pharmacist, town spinster, who's about to have a breakdown. Jack Mac, a local coal miner, trying to break though the wall Ave has put around her self. Theodore is our loveable feriner, band/choral director at Powell High School. Pearl Grimes is a local teenager who doesn' t have many friends, she goes on to take a job at Mutual Pharmacy working for Ave. Iva Lou is the bookmobie driver, one of Ave's best friends. I can't forget about wise cracking Fleeta who also works at Mutual for Ave.
Ave just lost her mama and soon finds out that she really doesn't know where she comes from. With the help of her friends she learns how to live life to its fullest. She finds long lost family and at last falls in love. She has everything she always wanted, and learned to be happy
So take a trip down to Big Stone Gap, meet it unique residents. I promise its worth the trip!
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Format: Paperback
My husband and I listened to the sound recording of this book and were engaged by the story line and the great quirky characters. Big Stone Gap is a small town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the southwestern part of Virginia. The story starts quietly with Ave Maria Mulligan telling the story of her life. She's a 35-year old pharmacist who's mourning the death of her mother and dwelling a lot on her past. She thinks of herself as being rather plain and ordinary and also feels that she will probably never marry. Her best friend, Theodore is a handsome and eligible teacher, but romance does not seem to be part of the relationship. The town people see her as a capable woman who can do anything and will always lend a helping hand.
Life is simple in Big Stone Gap and the best part of the week for Ave Maria is when the bookmobile shows up each Friday. In fact, Ave Maria says that everything that's she's learned from life has come from books. Her favorite book teaches the Chinese art of face reading and she practices on everyone's face and the results always seem to ring true. Things change when Ave Maria discovers some family secrets and her entire world is turned upside down. To add even more drama, Jack Mac, another very attractive man begins showing a lot of interest in her which confuses and complicates life even more for Ave Maria.
This is a wonderful story by Adriana Trigiani who is actually from the town of Big Stone Gap. I'm really looking forward to reading BIG CHERRY HOLLER, the sequel to this book.
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