Since the 1989 publication of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus has enjoyed a reputation as a seriously funny writer, a trait evident in his stories just as much as his novels. In these nine previously unpublished tales, a mortician shows a dedication to his departed clients that exceeds all legal limits, a virginal 78-year-old grammar school librarian meets a polyamorous snake farmer, and villagers turn against the young doctor who saved hundreds of people from cholera.
"Gurganus at his finest: funny, compassionate, and marked by the author's amazing ability to reflect the lightness—and darkness—in the souls of his fascinating characters.... This is a remarkable book, and it proves once again why Gurganus is one of the country's most talented and imaginative writers."—NPR