Big Stone Gap Audio CD – Nov 1 2000
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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
A wholesome Cinderella story with a winning blend of '70s nostalgia and Appalachian local color, Trigiani's debut introduces a likable heroine who's smart but obtuse, needy but rejecting, and generous with affection but afraid of love. Ave Maria Mulligan is the daughter of the late pharmacist of Bit Stone Gap, Va., and an immigrant Italian seamstress. She inherited the pharmacy when her father died, but it's only her mother's recent death that made Ave realize that, at 35, she's the town spinster. Not that she lacks for attention. Handsome Theodore Tipton, the high school band and choral director, is her best friend, and sexy bombshell Iva Lou Wade, who drives the book mobile that Ave eagerly awaits, is around to offer romantic advice. Plainspoken, direct and humorous, Ave has an amusing foible: having discovered a book on the Chinese art of face reading, she describes everyone in terms of the personality traits their facial features ostensibly demonstrate. In her self-deprecating assessment, Ave has "a mountain girl's body, strong legs, and a flat behind." So when Theodore proposes, and then takes it back, and mountain-man Jack MacChesney then also offers matrimony--out of pity, Ave assumes, so she rejects him--she's near despair. Moreover, a letter left by her mother informs Ave that her real father is a man who lives in Italy. Ave's emotional turmoil takes place against a colorfully detailed tour of Big Stone Gap's history and attractions, including its summer drama festival and its designation as the home of Appalachian bluegrass. Even the actual 1978 visit of senatorial candidate John Warner and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, plays a part in the story. In the tradition of romantic heroines, Ave is unable to recognize true love until it's almost too late, and meanwhile, there are some fairy tale touches, such as the arrival of her entire newly discovered Italian family. What saves the narrative from sentimentality and invests it with charm is Trigiani's witty voice, her tart-tongued but appealing heroine and her ability to recall the cultural details that immerse the reader in the atmosphere of her little mining town. Agent, Suzanne Gluck at ICM. 150,000 first printing; 9-city author tour; rights sold in the U.K, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain. (Apr.) writer for the Bill Cosby show and other TV series, and a documentary filmmaker.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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!!
Ave Marie Mulligan at 35 is an unmarried pharmacist in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The product of an Italian mother and Scotch Irish father, who died some years before has come to accept her father's cruelty when she was younger. She also has come to accept that her life most likely will never change either. Running the local pharmacy, which she inherited, making deliveries to the hollers, working with the ambulance squad and directing the Outdoor Drama musical every summer fill her days and years. But when Ava reads a letter from her recently deceased mother, she is left with some revelations and unsettling questions. Now Ava must find out the answers and we as readers fully realize that Ava's life will never be the same again.
Ms. Trigiani offers her readers a delightful book which will surely be read and reread by her many fans. And the best part is that once you finished reading Big Stone Gap you can return to the area and people once again by reading the second book in this trilogy, Big Cherry Holler, and the recently published third and last book, Milk Glass Moon. Take it from me, spending time with Ave Marie Mulligan with her friends in Big Stone Gap is a perfect way to spend any weekend.
The story is about Ave Maria Mulligan, 35 year old pharmacist, who is at a turning point in her life. She considers herself the town "spinster" and through some events that happen after her mother's death, she decides her life needs some changes. She feels she doesn't fit in to the natives of Big Stone Gap, even though she was born there, mostly because her mother was an Italian immigrant and she's Catholic. The changes don't exactly turn out to be the ones she plans, but oh what a fun ride along the way!
Most recent customer reviews
The characters were so well drawn in BIG STONE GAP that I felt I knew them. Loved Jack Mac and Iva Lou...and of course Ave Maria...right from the start. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2004
Loved this book. Everything rings true, from the quirky names, oddball characters that populate the little town, to the hilarious/sad/bittersweet occurances. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by carmenmiranda
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. Read morePublished on June 6 2004 by Kim M
My husband and I listened to the sound recording of this book and were engaged by the story line and the great quirky characters. Read morePublished on May 5 2004 by Judith Miller
I was so glad that I stuck with this book because after about 100 pages, I couldn't put it down. Within a few month's our "town spinster's" life changed drastically and... Read morePublished on March 21 2004 by Tonya Speelman
If anyone wants a taste of SW VA then I highly suggest this book. Along with Milk Glass Moon and Big Cherry Holler, Big Stone Gap provides an insightful glimpse into life on the... Read morePublished on March 12 2004 by Amazon Customer
Ok, I've gotta say, I'm a little disapointed...almost more in myself then this book. After reading all the wonderful reviews this book received, I was extremely excited to read... Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2004 by Mercedes J.
The book was well written and just chunked full of good characters. Living here in the Ozark Mountains, it was much like reading about many of my neighbors (and must admit,... Read morePublished on Dec 11 2003 by D. Blankenship