The winner of the National Book Award returns with a moving story of a family of women drawn together by the trials of the times.
The women in the Hand family are no strangers to either controversy or sadness. Those traits seem, in fact, to be a part of their family’s heritage, one that stretches back through several generations and many wars. A Dangerous Age is a celebration of the strength of these women and of the bonds of blood and shared loss that hold them together. Louise, Winifred, and Olivia are reconnecting the pieces of their lives and rediscovering love, but each is unwittingly on a collision course with a seemingly distant war that is really never more than a breath away. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, this finely honed novel about the centuries-old struggle for women who are left to carry on with life when their men go off to war is by a writer the Washington Post says “should be declared a national cultural treasure.”
In the latest from Gilchrist who won the National Book Award for the 1984 story collection Victory over Japan the grand Raleigh, N.C., wedding between Winifred "Winnie" Hand Abadie and Charles Kane is canceled when Charles perishes in the World Trade Center attacks. Winnie becomes despondent, and well-intentioned cousin Louise Hand Healy, a producer of TV documentaries, goads her to move in with her in Washington, D.C. Another cousin, Olivia Hand, is deeply committed to her job as editor of a Tulsa, Okla., newspaper and is torn between two men she loves. Gilchrist shifts uneasily among the three women's perspectives, and between the first and third person. The political commitment underscoring the novel, particularly in Olivia's scathing antiwar editorials, is deeply felt, and a nice twist is introduced when, on September 12, Charles's twin cousins, Carl and Brian, join the Marines. Gilchrist never quite brings the three female leads into narrative harmony, but she makes the age's dangers palpable.