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Forbes, Charlotte

Forbes, Charlotte

PERSONAL:

Female.

CAREER:

Writer, novelist, and short-story writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

O. Henry Prize, 1999, for short story "Sign."

WRITINGS:

Those Amazing Engineers, 2nd edition, designed and illustrated by Dean Pillion, Trilogy Publications (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 2005.

The Good Works of Ayela Linde: A Novel in Stories, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to books, including the Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, 1999, Anchor (New York, NY), 1999.

Contributor to periodicals, including Other Voices, Sycamore Review, and New Orleans Review.

SIDELIGHTS:

Author Charlotte Forbes, winner of an O. Henry prize, is a first-time novelist whose debut work, The Good Works of Ayela Linde: A Novel in Stories, is a complex, character-driven story told in a series of sixteen short stories. In the book, Forbes "presents a delicate gem of a novel" that, in total, paints a "rich and moving portrait of Ayela in all phases of her adult life" as she grows, matures, changes, and ages gracefully, commented Jenn B. Stidham in Library Journal. The stories, told by different narrators, follow Ayela from the cusp of vibrant adulthood to delicate, somber old age. In the first story, "Parasols," Forbes introduces Ayela Garzon, seventeen years old. The year is 1950, Ayela still lives with her dressmaker mother, but she is well aware of the effect her beauty has on the men in her Texas hometown of Santa Rosalia. Stigmatized by her illegitimacy, Ayela is defiantly unconcerned with what others think of her. Told from the point of view of her friend Druanne, the story recounts Ayela's transition from child to adult. In "Flowers at Your Grave," Ayela meets Frederick Linde, a young, handsome American visiting Santa Rosalia from Boston. He believes he is only passing through town, but he is stopped by the undeniable beauty of Ayela. Eventually, the two are married, to be separated only decades later by death. As the novel progresses, other characters tell portions of Ayela's story, all as profoundly affected by her as Frederick Linde, all influenced by her many contradictions, her generosity, sadness, and the "good works" that make up the title. Forbes "leaves the reader fascinated by the grace and dignity of this complex and indefinable woman," observed Laurie Sundborg in Booklist. In telling Ayela's story over the long span of her entire life, Forbes "depicts the tenuous comforts of old age as skillfully as the urgent desires of youth," stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor. A reviewer in Publishers Weekly stated, "This inventive debut deftly renders the full arc of a memorable character's life." Forbes "is a painter in words, but a painter who sends the reader a message in every story, even if it's as simple a message as: Hey, none of us are that easy to figure out," commented John Greenya in the Washington Times. "Forbes has the magic touch, and a glorious future," commented the Kirkus Reviews critic.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2006, Laurie Sundborg, review of The Good Works of Ayela Linde: A Novel in Stories, p. 71.

Entertainment Weekly, May 19, 2006, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, review of The Good Works of Ayela Linde, p. 877.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2006, review of The Good Works of Ayela Linde, p. 251.

Library Journal, April 15, 2006, Jenn B. Stidham, review of The Good Works of Ayela Linde, p. 65.

Publishers Weekly, March 27, 2006, review of The Good Works of Ayela Linde, p. 53.

Washington Times, July 16, 2006, John Greenya, review of The Good Works of Ayela Linde.

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