43rd out of 60 books — 4 voters
The Necessary Grace to Fall
by Gina Ochsner (Goodreads Author)
These eleven stories take us from the Czech Republic to Alaska, from Siberia to West Texas, as they stake out territories straddling the border between life and death. In the title story the usual thoroughness of an insurance claims investigator spirals into obsession when Howard learns that a beautiful, drowned policyholder was a childhood neighbor he never knew. He is le...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 15th 2002 by University of Georgia Press
(first published February 28th 2002)
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have read some short fiction pieces in the newyorker, which took my breath away. incredible writing, a few snippets i wrote down: "If God is home and goodness the land we are seaching for, then we are in a far country."; "The thing to remember about Baba is that she honestly thinks the dead come back to see who's wearing their shoes and to reclaim beloved handbags."
Devon Walker (Editorial Intern): November (2012) has found me moving back and forth between The Dream of the Unified Field, a collection of Jorie Graham poems, and Gina Oschner’s debut collection of short stories, The Necessary Grace to Fall. Both the poems and the stories share a sort of otherworldly logic in which myth effortlessly embeds itself in everyday ritual and history becomes less of an abstract collection of extinguished hours than a malleable and present object being shaped and resha...more
I can think of many reasons to read these short stories. As a writer interested in fiction, Gina Ochsner is a craft master of "magical realism." This amalgam of Raymond Carver and J.R.R. Toilken styles produces, when done well, an engaging and imaginative read. As a writer of narrative, Ms. Ochsner gives craft lessons on the proper and imaginative (there that word is again!) manipulation of scene. She moves us in time, flash-back, flash-forward seamlessly--trust me, it only looks easy until you...more
A beautiful collection with images that recur and startle with each recurrence: tiny birds, frail beating hearts, ice deserts and ice sculptures. Her books always offer a welcome strangeness; some magical realism; a few stories set in Eastern Europe and ringed with a tender sense of loss. My two favorites are in the middle—“Modern Taxidermy” and “Then, Returning,” both with enigmatic characters with sad histories that you just brush up against during the span of the short story. This from the ch...more
Yes, this book is about death. But it is death in a beautiful light, that which is suffused by humanity. Ochsner conjures grace in her writing the way Hemingway conjured masculinity. It comes from who she is as a writer and not emulation of some other writer's style. Death is told in a way that helps release the reader's fixation with death as the end of the journey.
GINA OCHSNER is the author of two collections of short stories, People I Wanted to Be and The Necessary Grace to Fall, both of which won the Oregon Book Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, and others. She is a recipient of the Flannery OConnor Award, the Ruth Hindman Foundation Prize, Guggenheim and NEA Grants, and the Raymond Carve...moreMore about Gina Ochsner...