Gut feelings : a writer's truths and minute inventions /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Gerber, Merrill Joan.
Imprint:Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, c2003.
Description:xv, 204 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Subject:Gerber, Merrill Joan.
Gerber, Merrill Joan.
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography.
Fiction -- Authorship.
Authors, American.
Fiction -- Authorship.
Format: Print Book
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ISBN:0299183505 (alk. paper)
Review by Library Journal Review

Gerber (creative writing, California Inst. of Technology; Botticelli Blue Skies) notes in the preface to this collection of essays and short stories that she needs to write about "the way things really are" while producing fiction. Admitting that one cannot be sure whether truth lies in fact or fiction, she cleverly blends memoir and invention to illustrate how an author's life influences her literary output. Subjects range from writing teachers and other literary experiences to events in Gerber's family life, which began in Brooklyn. Noteworthy entries include "A Month in the Country at Yaddo," a humorous look at the eccentricities of life at an artists' colony, and "The Lost Airman," the poignant story of the author's uncle, a World War II MIA, whose remains were found some 50 years after his death. The collection will prove particularly insightful to writers in training as illustrations of how real-life events provide material for creative efforts. Also recommended for those who enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin's Wait Till Next Year. For public libraries.-Denise J. Stankovics, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Refined, concise, often emotionally wringing memoir vignettes. These pieces get at the source of fiction-writer Gerber's work (Chattering Man, 1991, etc.), the kernels and essences and truths that have shaped the imaginings that made her fictions "forms of emotion recollected in an even higher state of emotion." She knows how to turn a story on a dime, as when Wallace Stegner tells her, "You hold out for what you're worth," as well as to create a more pervasive atmosphere, as in the stifling pecking order at Yaddo, how she experienced the diminishment of every small disappointment and insult. She can twist the knife of a family who lost three sons during WWII, and she can seesaw between the black humor of "My Mother's Suffering: you could say it was the theme song of my life" to the lacerating words they share when they decide to withdraw her life support: " 'But are you sure you're ready to die? Are you ready to say goodbye to us?' 'Yes!' It took all her energy to say the word." She can, above all, be unsparing, visiting an aged aunt and other old crones in a retirement home, where she "smelled their smell as we all crowded into the small elevator to go down for the watered soup and canned peas for lunch." Readers can also witness the transmutation of experience into fiction (Gerber includes three stories), feel the blur, as when she relates the suicide of her sister's husband in a piece of pure memoir and then read it again in a story she wrote of the incident, full of friction, dislocation, and the author finding her own measure of veracity. "I wait to receive further news from existence and to give it true justice in the retelling." She will, too, cutting the facets just right. Copyright ┬ęKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Review by Kirkus Book Review