5.0 out of 5 stars If you let it, this book will stay with you forever...
I have never written a review for any book, but then again, no book has ever affected me the way this book has. As a Southern woman, weaned on stories of life in the South, I was so affected by this novel that it touched my heart like no other. Lucy Marsden seems like a favourite Aunt of mine now, one that has told me the story of her long life and it's highs and lows,...
Published on Aug. 8 2003 by Mrs. T. Furlong
3.0 out of 5 stars good stories when you're not drowning in prose...
When I started reading this book, I was so excited to have discovered Gurganus as a storyteller. He has done an admirable job of portraying a soldier's experiences in the Civil War, as well as capturing the unique characters of a community with humor and empathy. However, I soon found myself drowning in prose. Some of the stories drag and drag to the point of tedium...
Published on Nov. 5 2003 by Catherine
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1.0 out of 5 stars Zzzzzzzz,
By A Customer
characters that are developed at ponderous length and suddenly disappear, never to be heard from again; the incomprehensible pattern of events which the narrator chooses (giving us every random detail for about a 12-year period and then skipping over a whole lot of stuff that would have been nice to know); stomach-churning prissiness that attempts to pass as womanspeak ("I then scolded my prettiest girl for lisping so"), and a burning-of-the-plantation scene that is laughably stupid as well as flat-out physiologically impossible. Not for the literate.
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than the Sum of its Parts,
1.0 out of 5 stars Struggled to Finish,
By A Customer
Very few characters are fleshed out -- I know who Ned was; I have a good bead on Lucy's father; even Baby came alive for me. All three of these characters are minor; the two major characters, Lucy and the Captain, are still not solid images in my mind. If I can't picture the narrator, it's not good.
The rest of it was just terrible. This book was way too long, and filled with stories that the narrator (Lucy) didn't care about -- so why should I? As I read it, I kept thinking "is something going to happen soon?" I made it to page 600 only because I HAD to (the person who recommended it to me is one of my closest friends, and I had to be able to talk about my progression through the book with her.) I couldn't even finish the last 100 pages (you think I would have, after making it that far, but no, it was just too boring and incredibly BAD.)
Truly an excruciating experience. When I see it for sale on Amazon I am offended that they want me to buy this book; they should PAY me to take a copy of it off of their hands.
3.0 out of 5 stars good stories when you're not drowning in prose...,
5.0 out of 5 stars If you let it, this book will stay with you forever...,
2.0 out of 5 stars Oldest Living Confederate Widow tells too much,
5.0 out of 5 stars Deleting the passage of time...,
(Like I remember David Copperfield, Don Quijote, Natty Bumpo, etc.)
Perhaps Gurganus's novel doesn't belong with those other classics, but I remember Lucy!
I agree that the book should be shorter. That doesn't change the fact that you should read this story.
The most powerful impression that this book gives is that the flowing of time separates us from other generations but there are messages and memories preserved for us to experience and from which to learn.
When Lucy compares the confederate veterans hanging out in the town square to the vietnam vets hanging out in that same town square, the effect is dizzying. We came from previous generations and others will come from us, live in our houses, drive down the same streets we do, etc. Lucy serves as a reminder that time passes but things don't necessarily change.
The novel's portrayal of history is indeed special.
4.0 out of 5 stars One Woman's Perspective,
Lucy Marsden's narrative speaks vividly of her experiences as a child-bride, married to a crazed but earnest vet, of motherhood, of gender-dominance, and, of course, of love-making, the historic "battle of the sexes". She speaks of the popularity of love-making right through its title changes and shifting styles of the times, but still coupling into the same old shenanigans. She muses over how strict she and her man looked by day, and at church, and how wild were their night actions in their own "legal playpen for adults".
Beware of feeling sorry for yourself, she advises. Its mighty tempting. War itself is a form of pouting and self-pity. She empathizes with the soldiers when confronted with the dire statement "South Loses It" and questions where the soldier is when his war is yanked from under him: he lies caught in the middle with no idea of how to behave.
Lucy exposes a gallery of characters, aristocrats & free men, sharecroppers & slaves, blacks and whites, and offers her own unique perspective on folks such as General Lee and President Lincoln. In her own inspired, ungrammatical voice, she tells it all - as she saw it and as she lived it.
This book is a "must read" for all who want a plain-folks perspective on life in the Old South. I enjoyed it. I think you will, too. Lois Bennett
1.0 out of 5 stars Like the Emperor's New Clothes....,
This review is from: Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (Paperback)Like the boy in The Emperor's New Clothes, I wonder if I'm the only person who DID NOT like this book?
It was recommended to me by a dear friend whose book taste usually parallels my own. The reviews were grand, people loved it. And being a southerner, I thought I would just naturally enjoy it. NOT.
Lucy Marsden is pitiful, her aged loony-tune husband is pitiful, and the other characters are no better. The stabs at comedy in this book were lost on me; I found the whole thing grim and depressing. And it's LONG and grim. Talk about diarrhea of the word processor.
I am an avid reader and I enjoy ALL kinds of books, but I could never, ever recommend this book to anyone.
4.0 out of 5 stars great characters non linear plot,
This review is from: Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (Paperback)I am fascinated by Southern hisotry, civil rights and the civil war --this book contained all of these ingredients --it's not really a novel with a linear plot; instead, it's a collection of recollections --just as if you were listening to someone tell you his or her life story which would meander back and forth from early to more recent events as one event triggered memory of another. Some of these stories, though fiction, gave me a truer sense of what certain events must have been like than any other real history I've read. As an example, the story of Castalia's forced journey from Africa to Charleston gave me what felt like the truest view of that passage that I have read; likewise, the story involving Sherman's assault on the Marsden plantation made me get a sense of what that must have felt like to those living on the plantations who were either freed or lost their possessions. The writing is very rich and requires careful attention; my only criticism is that some of the stories seemed to drag and could have been more tightly edited --that made the book, at times, tedious and is the reason for 4 rather than 5 stars.
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Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus (Paperback - Sept. 1 1990)
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