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Strangers and Sojourners

Stories from the Lowcountry

List Price: $23.00

April 13, 2004 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5, 240 Pages | ISBN 9781582432649
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"A clear, evocative writer." —Washington Post

For readers of Allan Gurganus and John Kennedy Toole, stories set in a small Southern town where a young Jewish doctor tries to bring compassion and science to a cast of misfits, loners, and eccentrics. A one-hundred-and-fourteen-year-old woman living alone, a deaf recluse, a Jewish alligator hunter and his New York wife, a gay African-American drummer, a woman accused of poisoning her husband, a homeless, transgendered person, a woman scarred by a dog attack, a Jewish shopkeeper with unfulfilled aspirations, a wife with an AIDS-afflicted husband—these are a few of the characters in these twenty-one linked stories from the diverse and vital rural culture of the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Struggling to wrest meaning from the tragic events of their lives, these characters create unorthodox views of God, the world, and justice, simply as a way to survive. Their stories revolve around an outsider, Dr. Jake Reuben, who during his stay in Coosawaw County is educated by the Lowcountry people into a new way of healing, and who learns that the benefits of a small measure of respect far exceed the contents of his medical bag. Full of surprises, humor, compassion, and wisdom, Strangers and Sojourners is as entertaining as it is moving.

MARY POTTER ENGEL holds a Ph.D. in Christian Theology from the University of Chicago and was for years a tenured professor of theology. She is the author of A Woman of Salt and lives in Shoreline, Washington, with her family.


“A clear, evocative writer.” —Washington Post

“A writer well worth watching.” —Seattle Times

“Their eccentricities notwithstanding, these are extraordinary characters, endowed by Engel with a sublime grace and humbling spirituality that is both penetrating and poignant.” —Booklist Starred Review

“Engel can move from voice to voice as easily and as quickly as someone spinning an AM radio dial… With 21 stories in just over 200 pages, most of the entries are quite brief, and a few lengthier works would have added narrative depth to the collection’s breadth. But this series of vivid portraits reaffirms the abiding role of place in Southern literature.” —Publishers Weekly


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