'Acts of God' explores family, cherishing life

Mar. 22, 2014 @ 10:45 AM

In “Acts of God,” the title story of Ellen Gilchrist’s new short story collection (Algonquin Books, $23.95), the author gives us a brief history of a family, and a look inside a common modern dilemma. The story focuses on William McCamey and his wife Amelie, now in their 80s, who have been in love since elementary school. To protect them from themselves, their children hire a sitter to keep them from driving their car out of the garage.
One morning, the sitter calls saying she will be late (she is attending to family caught in the fallout from Hurricane Katrina), and the McCameys take advantage of their freedom to take a ride. Using simple, straightforward language, Gilchrist has penned a story about the meaning of family and the importance of cherishing life.
Algonquin will publish “Acts of God” April 8, along with the first paperback edition of Gilchrist’s 2008 novel “A Dangerous Age.”

Here are some more releases and readings:
-- In Eric Jerome Dickey’s new novel “A Wanted Woman” (Dutton, $26.95), agent MX-401, know as Reaper, is sent by her employers (The Barbarians) to dispatch a government minister in Trinidad. Dickey tells this thriller through the eyes of Reaper, a female agent and assassin.
Dickey will read and sign copies of the novel at 7 p.m. April 17 at Barnes & Noble in New Hope Commons in Durham.
-- Joan Breton Connelly’s book “The Parthenon Enigma” (Knopf, $35) challenges many basic assumptions about the Parthenon and the ancient Athenians. Built in the fifth century B.C., the Parthenon is considered the West’s ultimate paragon of beauty and proportion. Connelly questions how much the values of those who built the Parthenon correspond to those of moderns, and what the Parthenon meant to those who made it.
Connelly will discuss and sign copies of her book at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble in New Hope Commons in Durham.
-- Author Edward Slingerland is an expert in Chinese thought, comparative religion, and cognitive science. In his new book “Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity” (Crown, $26), he offers an exploration of the ancient Chinese concept of spontaneity.
Slingerland will discuss his book at 7 p.m. April 1 at Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Chapel Hill; and at 7 p.m. April 2 at The Regulator Bookshop,
720 Ninth St. in Durham.
-- Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill will publish the paperback version of Robert Morgan’s 2013 novel “The Road from Gap Creek” Tuesday. For information, visit www.algonquin.com.

Send notices of readings, signings and book releases to cbellamy@heraldsun.com.