Read Pilgrims and Other Stories by Elizabeth Gilbert Free Online
Book Title: Pilgrims and Other Stories|
ISBN 13: 9780330351744
The author of the book: Elizabeth Gilbert
Date of issue: April 9th 1998
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 34.91 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.8
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Elizabeth Gilbert's Pilgrims (first published in 1997) has come in for a fair bit of criticism on Goodreads -- mainly, I think, because it is so different from her humongous bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. I get the impression many readers go into this collection of short stories expecting it to be a re-tread of themes discussed in Eat, Pray, Love, only to be fiercely disappointed and unforgiving when they find out it isn't. It's a pity many readers can't judge the book on its own merits, for Pilgrims is an accomplished collection of short stories. In my opinion, it showcases Elizabeth Gilbert's gifts as a writer better than does Eat, Pray, Love, but I guess it doesn't contain enough soul-searching and navel-gazing for the average fan of that book.
The twelve stories contained in Pilgrims are refreshingly diverse and unsentimental. They are set all over the USA, and feature a wide range of characters: directionless fifteen-year-old boys, brilliant and less brilliant magicians, brassy cowgirls, shy artists, incestuous bar owners, punch-happy protective older brothers, overambitious porters, pretentious students who like to pretend they're British aristocrats, and so on. The situations in which Gilbert puts these characters are equally diverse, but they do have a few things in common. For one thing, many stories revolve around characters learning important things about themselves, frequently finding things they did not even know they were looking for. For another thing, they all share a certain sympathy and compassion. No matter how silly or downright stupid some of Gilbert's characters are, the author never stoops to judge them, treating them instead with a tolerance that borders on respect. I like that, just like I like the fact that Gilbert never feels compelled to tell her characters' whole histories. The twelve stories in Pilgrims are not miniature novels; instead they are slices of life that start in medias res and end there. They capture a moment in time rather than a story, and as far as I'm concerned, they capture it well -- no need for more background or closure.
The best thing about Pilgrims is Elizabeth Gilbert's fabulous ear for dialogue. Readers familiar with Eat, Pray, Love will know that Gilbert excels at writing lively and witty dialogue. In Pilgrims she does an even better job of it, sketching complete (and again, very diverse) characters by means of short, frequently absurd exchanges. Many of her dialogues are quirky as hell, but they suit the characters and situations so well that they always feel genuine and right. As a beginning novelist, I quite envy Gilbert for the ease with which she gives all her characters a voice of their own, but I digress...
As I was saying, Pilgrims may not appeal to the millions of navel-gazing self-seekers who ate up Eat, Pray, Love , but those who like original and unsentimental slices of life with good characterisation and vivid dialogue should appreciate it a lot. I know I did!
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Read information about the author
Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book. Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award.
Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, spent 57 weeks in the #1 spot on the New York Times paperback bestseller list. It has shipped over 6 million copies in the US and has been published in over thirty languages. A film adaptation of the book was released by Columbia Pictures with an all star cast: Julia Roberts as Gilbert, Javier Bardem as Felipe, James Franco as David, Billy Crudup as her ex-husband and Richard Jenkins as Richard from Texas.
Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, will be available on October 1, 2013. The credit for her profile picture belongs to Jennifer Schatten.
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