When Mary Ladd Gavell died in 1967, at the age of forty-seven, she had never been published. But her story “The Rotifer” was fortuitously discovered by John Updike, who called it a “gem” and included it in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. With the publication of I Cannot Tell a Lie, Exactly, Mary Ladd Gavell takes her rightful place among the best writers of her—and our—time.
About the Author
Mary Ladd Gavell was born in Cuero, Texas, in 1919 and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1940. She married Stefan Gavell in 1953, and the couple had two sons. They lived in Washington, D.C., where Mary Gavell worked at Psychiatry magazine. She died in 1967.
“Everyone should have this book on their shelf...for the pleasure of reading a perfect story again and again.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“[Stories of] wives, mothers and daughters who know more than they say and subtly question the conventional surfaces of their lives...In her best work, Gavell’s prose is both light and deep, wry, with a quick, sharp edge.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Like Grace Paley, Gavell takes the slice-of-life incident and transforms it into something more...with resonance and meaning.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Her stories made the ordinary compelling and often jabbed the sad and serious with an elbow of humor....[I Cannot Tell a Lie, Exactly] helps elevate the short story to a national art form.” —The Seattle Times
“Replete with an understated wisdom and humor that make one regret that the book will have no encore.” —Time Out New York
“Each [story] is a perfect gem....John Updike selected ‘The Rotifer’ for The Best American Short Stories of the Century, but any of the pieces in [this] collection could be rightly chosen for this honor.” —BookPage
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