Nov 03, 11
Read in October, 2011
I first read The Annunciation a couple of decades ago, and its appealing description of Fayetteville, Arkansas lingered in my memory, recently prompting a long-postponed trip to that city. Fayetteville turned out to be less than I had remembered, although perhaps it was once the artsy community that Eureka Springs now appears to be. But in re-reading Ellen Gilchrist's novel, I realized that it is much more about character than it is about place. Gilchrist deftly portrays a variety of interesting personae. Front and center is Amanda McCarney, a gifted woman whose road to self-realization is anything but smooth. The author's feminist sensibilities are apparent, but she doesn't hit you over the head with them, and her male characters are just as convincing and fully drawn as her women. Gilchrist's prose is fluid and fast-paced. It was a pleasure to renew my acquaintance with this book; it wears very well more than 25 years after its initial publication.