The Nightingales of Troy: Stories of a Family’s Century

Alice Fulton, Author . Norton $23.95 (254p) ISBN 978-0-393-04887-2

These 10 linked short stories by MacArthur fellow Fulton track the lives of four generations of women from Troy, N.Y., where “love comes to die.” The first story begins in 1908, and subsequent stories are spaced approximately a decade apart, creating a colorful patchwork of the 20th century. In “Happy Dust,” a young mother, sick with a wasting disease and about to give birth, finds some relief in a mysterious potion given to her by a fallen nun. A waitress in “Shadow Table” is asked to make a birthday dessert for her lover’s long-dead younger sister. In “The Real Eleanor Rigby” a girl infatuated with the Beatles and Herman Melville resolves to give the fab four her first edition of Typee , only to be upstaged by her domineering mother, who scores the two of them a brief private audience with the band. Fulton’s strengths are in elaborate detail and delicate construction. And many stories also contain moments of blunt violence and unthinking cruelty, providing the tension at the heart of a book that’s rich with feeling for its characters yet willing to expose their faults. (July)

Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 254 pages - 978-0-393-33544-6
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-393-07950-0
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