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The Demon of Longing
Gail Gilliland



Carnegie Mellon Short Fiction Series

Carnegie Mellon
2001 • 264 pp. 5 x 8"
Short Stories - Single Author

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-362-2



A collection of short stories by Gail Gilliland.

The sixteen stories collected here, published individually over a period of fifteen years, take the reader from the freeways of Los Angeles to the train stations of small towns in Italy, from the familiar bustle of a Boston suburb to the timeless strangeness of the Berkshire hills. Each of the characters in these stories face the demon of longing in some life-altering way. Theirs is the last devil to be cast out, the one that poses the ultimate question—What if it were possible to make another choice?

A Vietnam vet, brewing Lapsa Oolong in the Albuquerque motel room he calls home, reflects on the quiet pink morning when he first experienced the intuitive powers of the human mind. A middle-aged professor, trapped in her house in Newton during a blizzard, writes a letter to the Silicon Valley French teacher who became her first love after high school graduation. A shoe repairman in the depths of the Berkshires attempts to unravel the connection his second wife has made between their crumbling marriage and the frozen body of a woman that has been found by hunters in the woods. A fragile young woman “disappears” when she learns that her lover’s wife is pregnant with their second child, and finds the strength to admit there may never be an answer to, What if?

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Reviews / Endorsements



“I was utterly captivated by Gail Gilliland’s debut volume of stories. The Demon of Longing is no apprentice work but an astonishingly accomplished and deeply felt collection. The multilayered title story alone has more invention and imaginative power than most novels. It not only surprised and delighted me but sent a shiver of recognition through my heart.”—Dana Gioia

“This is a remarkable collection. Whether she writes in the first or third person, from the vantage of the young or old, of men or women, of violence or love and how ‘the demon of longing’ can link them, Gail Gilliland does so with grace. Her characters recur; her stories refract upon and reflect each other almost as though in a series of mirrors, and the resulting prism offers a special dark light. An authoritative debut.” —Nicholas Delbanco



GAIL GILLILAND’s short stories have appeared in a number of magazines over the years. Her first book, Being a Minor Writer (University of Iowa Press, 1994), was about the immeasurable value of storytelling as a saving power in human life.



Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:23:42 -0500