Friday, July 01, 2005

Shirley Ann Grau

A hidden gem worth discovering or rediscovering!

OVER THE SPAN of six novels and three collections of short stories, Southern writer Shirley Ann Grau has delved into the complex, enigmatic landscapes of the human heart through her realistic portrayal of black and white relationships in the Deep South. She has an uncanny knack for recreating black characters that are believable in a prose style that is at once spare and precise, yet amazingly rich and potent. Sadly, despite winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1965 for The Keepers of the House (1964), not many people have heard of her or her books. Those not familiar with her ouvre and would like to explore some of her books should check out The Keepers of the House, the story of a rich white man's three-decade relationship with a black housekeeper in rural Alabama, The House on Coliseum Street (1961) and either The Black Prince and Other Stories (1954) or Selected Stories (2003). Unfortunately, most of her books are out of print and have been forgotten through the years. Excelling at both the novel and the short-story forms, Grau's books are hidden gems that demand to be rediscovered for modern times.

Like all the others on that street the house was narrow and three stories tall, white painted and black shuttered. The first two floors had porches straight across the front, narrow porches edged and ornamented with light lacy ironwork. A slender delicate house of the sort that had been popular in the 1840s. In front was a tiny lawn divided exactly in two by a brick walk and edged by the scrolls and feathers of a low iron fence. In one of those smooth tiny patches of grass, misplaced and hideous, was a fountain, a bubbling fountain. The House on Coliseum Street (1961)

GRAU Shirley Ann [1929-] Novelist, short-story writer. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. NOVELS Roadwalkers (1994); Evidence of Love (1977); The Condor Passes (1971); The Keepers of the House (1964: winner of the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction); The House on Coliseum Street (1961); The Hard Blue Sky (1958) STORIES Selected Stories (2003); Nine Women (1985); The Wind Shifting West (1973); The Black Prince and Other Stories (1954)


Anonymous Loren Hagaman said...

Excellent, that was really well explained and helpful

Sunday, December 25, 2005 7:08:00 AM  

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