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The Tea Ceremony

The Uncollected Writings of Gina Berriault

List Price: $15.00

September 20, 2005 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 224 Pages | ISBN 9781593760465
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"This compelling posthumous collection...presents five remarkable short stories, each a study in the dignity of outsiders, followed by a set of wryly understated and keenly perceptive essays from the 1960s... all testimony to the purity of Berriault's mission and magnitude of her gifts." —Booklist

Compiled by Gina Berriault’s daughter and by her long-time companion, Leonard Gardner, this collection opens with five stories, including, “The Figure Skaters,” the last story published before she died in 1999. Also here is the first section of the novel she left unfinished and her brilliant acceptance speech for the Commonwealth Club of California’s Gold Medal for Literature.

As reclusive as she was meticulous, Gina Berriault did not suffer fools and sat for only a handful of interviews. She was acutely aware, of nuance and tended to write and rewrite not only the answers but also the questions, making the interview printed here as finished and beautiful as an of her writing.

Here, too, are her essays for Rolling Stone, Hungry Mind, and Esquire on subjects as diverse as the first topless dancers in San Francisco’s North Beach to the last execution by firing squad. As a whole this collection becomes her credo on American culture, politics, and the written word.

This posthumous collection of previously uncollected fiction and nonfiction celebrates the career of this American treasure.

GINA BERRIAULT is the author of four novels and three story collections.She won numerous fellowships and honors over her thirty-year career. Her collection of stories, Women in Their Beds, won the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Rea Foundation Award.


“A writer with the compassion an precision of Grace Paley an Chekov, and a penchant for the fantastic born, in part, from her love of Gogol, Berriault envisioned the lives of all sorts of people in all sorts of unsettling predicaments. This compelling posthumous collection…presents five remarkable short stories , each a study in the dignity of outsiders, followed by a set of wryly understated and keenly perceptive essays from the 1960s in which Berriault profiles a student activist; topless dancers; a firing squad; and Carolyn Cassady whose husband, Neal, had just died. Here, too, are reflections of writing and humanism and a poignant interview, all testimony to the purity of Berriault’s mission an the magnitude of her gifts.” —Booklist


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