After the War

Alice Adams
Alice Adams is considered to be one of the major American writers of the last thirty years. Her stories appeared in The New Yorker from 1969 and 1995, as well as in twenty-two O. Henry Awards collections and several volumes of Best American Short Stories. After the War is her eleventh and final novel--the brilliant coda to a brilliant career. After the War begins where her acclaimed novel A Southern Exposure ended: in the small Southern town of Pinehill during World War II. With all the insight and grace that have marked her writing, she brings us close to Cynthia and Harry Baird, transplanted Yankees who moved south from Connecticut during the Depression to find a simpler world for themselves and their daughter, Abigail. But life in Pinehill has become more difficult since the beginning of the war: with Harry off in London to do his share, Cynthia finds her life complicated not only by her own loneliness but also by a growing awareness of local racism and anti-Semitism, and by the rising national dread of Communism. And as Abigail heads off to college, where she faces all the traditional complications of youth, we are drawn into an America caught between past and future, and two generations forced to determine what they cherish and what they must leave behind. Alice Adams's depiction of her native South--full, rich, affectionate, and always one of her many strengths--is at its most subtle and engrossing in After the War.

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