Title: The Annunciation
Author: Ellen Gilchrist
# of pages: 353

Comments: I have long loved Ellen Gilchrist’s short stories. Her characters are wild, impulsive, and hilarious, even when they don’t mean to be. This is her first novel, and also the first one I’ve read. The main character, Amanda, is lovely, like all her other characters, and her writing is beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I didn’t love the ending. Not to give anything away, but it was a little too soap-opera-esque. And I did find myself chuckling when Amanda got sidetracked from her own writing by a love affair. After all, when I heard Gilchrist talk last fall, and she was asked to give advice to young writers, she complained that her students have all these amazing experiences–working with Teach for America in border towns in Texas, rebuilidng houses in New Orleans after Katrina, being airlifted out of a country on the brink of civil war–and yet every one of their stories starts with them waking up, hung over, in bed with their boyfriends. Just goes to prove, hindsight is always 20/20, even when you’ve written it down differently.