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Ancestors and Others: New and Selected Stories

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this collection, Fred Chappell shows his mastery across a range of genres. Featuring folk fables in the Twain tradition, realistic stories of growing up in remote Appalachia, stories of family, kin, and community, and tales of the fantastic and spooky, this book will delight fans and surprise new readers.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2009)
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3.85  · 
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 ·  40 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Jan 19, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book of short stories in a way that was quite different from the way I’ve enjoyed other stories recently. I am troubled by my present inability to find phrase that describes the fundamental differences.

Some differences, though, are obvious. Most of the stories in Ancestors contain supernatural or religious elements. One, “Three Boxes,” arguably is not a short story at all but is a kind of fictional myth. The others often present precise representations of individual characters bu
It has been almost six years since I started using social media to track and review what I have read. Over that time, I have revisited with many favorite authors, so I have been able to say something about them. Sometimes I have visited with special books by rereading them and sometimes I have been reading new books by those authors I have loved.

In the more than five years that have passed, I have not read a single book by Fred Chappell. I know there are lots of books out there, but I loved Chap
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Love and admire this anthology of short stories: inventive, entertaining, well-written, and intelligently comic throughout. Favourites: "Crèche", a story about manger animals being afforded one night of consciousness and human speech; "Ancestors", about a living human history experiment of resurrected Civil War vets who become houseguests of their descendants: "Moments of Light", an imaginary dinner engagement between composer Joseph Haydn and astronomer William Hershchel, and "Mankind Journey T ...more
Jul 06, 2013 added it
I read "Ember" in an anthology, and enjoyed it enough to seek out the collection it came from. I read the first two stories with some enjoyment. And then I came to "The Three Boxes," a racial parable, and when I was finished with that I was finished with the book, and with Fred Chappell.

Dear Mr. Chappell, slavery happened as a result of choices made by human beings. People decided to enslave other people. People created a sizeable infrastructure to allow them to enslave other people more effici
Oct 29, 2010 rated it liked it
"The sadness of Utopia was the same as that of paradise. Utopia and paradise could not remember. They were eternal and unaging and had no history to come to nor any to leave behind. They were dreams that Arthur for a long time had been experiencing with all his senses except those of his body. He had already opened both Doors and visited both Somewheres. He was ready to fling open wide the third door, the entrance to the world in which ha already lived. Much had passed him by. Oh yes. Yet much a ...more
May 10, 2010 rated it liked it
The cover of this is so eerie and beautiful. I don't think I even looked at the inside flap when I was at the library before sticking it on top of the towering pile in my arms.

Some of the stories in this collection felt a little out of place, or at least were not interesting to me. "Creche" was fabulous. I loved Chappell's sense of humor (particularly Penny the hen who felt the farmer's wife calling the other hens "Penny" was a case of mistaken identity) and especially enjoyed the second to last
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult one to rate. Chappell’s interests are varied, often focusing on fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction. There is a heavy theme of philosophical musing and symbolism that I just don’t enjoy, so I will admit to skipping a couple of stories. My favorite (Christmas Gift!) was a funny tale of the pain we sometimes endure to get a job done, and how much more annoying it gets when you have a client watching who will only offer vague, unhelpful comments.
Sep 26, 2010 rated it liked it
A fine collection, althought I would still suggest new readers of Fred Chappell start with the Jess Kirkman novels. A number of the stories in this collection were previously available in "More Shapes Than One." Most contain fantastic elements, ranging from fables populated by the likes of Haydn or Linneaus to mountain folk stories to pulp-inspired science fiction.

My favorite stories from this volume are "Judas," "The Somewhere Doors," "Gift of Roses," "Creche," and "The Lodger."
Lee Willoughby-harris
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Vintage Fred. This is a fantastic collection.
Nov 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I took this back to the library a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I can't remember any of the stories enough to say anything.
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Jun 11, 2010 rated it liked it
very nice short stories. i was expecting more explosion, but got fire creackery.
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Fred Davis Chappell retired after 40 years as an English professor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997-2002. He attended Duke University.

His 1968 novel Dagon, which was named the Best Foreign Book of the Year by the Academie Française, is a recasting of a Cthulhu Mythos horror story as a psychologically realistic Southern Gothic.

His l