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To Be A Stranger
To Be A Stranger

TO BE A STRANGER
The Asheville Stories by Gaither Stewart

Category: Fiction
Formats: PDF eBook, Trade Paperback 
ISBN: eBook 0-9721513-6-2; Paperback 0-9721513-5-4 (252 pages)
Cost: eBook, US$8.00; Paperback, US$16.00

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Displacement, exile and return haunt the pages of Gaither Stewart’s second short story collection, To Be A Stranger. Though most of the sixteen stories are set in the author’s hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, the stories touch only lightly on the real Asheville, today’s renowned tourism destination. Stewart says, “The Asheville I depict rather hazily is the misty, intangible town I imagine from a distance or see when I visit there. It is a strange Asheville, an Asheville of great secrets, an Asheville of a distant past, an Asheville removed from the present. It is also an Asheville as a destination and a hope. It is the hometown of the exile, seen now close at hand, now in the past, now as in a dream.

“In a way, the Asheville stories are my first attempts at coming to grips with my origins. Perhaps the town is a metaphor, as someone commented, because the stories are permeated by the idea of departure and return.”

Stewart’s characters, like the fictionalization of Asheville’s most famous son in Look Homeward, Angel, are perplexed by return, uncertain of their place in the world. Likewise, characters peopling the Mexican or New York or European stories of To Be A Stranger want to be somewhere elseor someone else.

Stash Luczkiw, editor of Milan’s Cartier Art, praises the volume for its cosmopolitan portrayal of common human traits. “Reading Stewart’s stories is like playing a raucous game of connect-the-dots with these coordinates across sundry landscapes and languages. It is an effortless, smooth, always thoughtful and often humorous ride that can drop you off in the most unexpected pockets of turbulence—where you can see the world and mull over questions of freedom, chance, destiny and the human (all-too-human) condition.”

In lyrical, personal language, To Be A Stranger explores the luxury of escape and the bittersweet joy of return.

It’s an old adage: You can’t run away from yourself. The cosmopolitan characters in Gaither Stewart’s stories prove that no matter where you go, you’re always there—for better or worse—to meet yourself at the airport. Still, there’s something in the very act of displacement that manages to shift crucial spiritual and psychological coordinates. Reading Stewart’s stories is like playing a raucous game of connect-the-dots with these coordinates across sundry landscapes and languages. It is an effortless, smooth, always thoughtful and often humorous ride that can drop you off in the most unexpected pockets of turbulence—where you can see the world and mull over questions of freedom, chance, destiny and the human (all-too-human) condition.

- Stash Luczkiw
American poet, journalist, and editor of Milan's Cartier Art

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Malaprops Bookstore & Café
55 Haywood Street
Asheville, North Carolina

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Via Tieri,125 - 00123
Roma
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