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Big Stone Gap


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About the Author

Adriana Trigiani grew up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and now lives with her husband and daughter in New York City. In addition to being the bestselling author of BIG STONE GAP, BIG CHERRY HOLLER and MILK GLASS MOON, she is an award-winning playwright, television writer, and documentary filmmaker. She has written the screenplay for the film version of Big Stone Gap, which she will also direct.


A wholesome Cinderella story with a winning blend of '70s nostalgia and Appalachian local color, Trigiani's debut introduces a likable heroine who's smart but obtuse, needy but rejecting, and generous with affection but afraid of love. Ave Maria Mulligan is the daughter of the late pharmacist of Bit Stone Gap, Va., and an immigrant Italian seamstress. She inherited the pharmacy when her father died, but it's only her mother's recent death that made Ave realize that, at 35, she's the town spinster. Not that she lacks for attention. Handsome Theodore Tipton, the high school band and choral director, is her best friend, and sexy bombshell Iva Lou Wade, who drives the book mobile that Ave eagerly awaits, is around to offer romantic advice. Plainspoken, direct and humorous, Ave has an amusing foible: having discovered a book on the Chinese art of face reading, she describes everyone in terms of the personality traits their facial features ostensibly demonstrate. In her self-deprecating assessment, Ave has "a mountain girl's body, strong legs, and a flat behind." So when Theodore proposes, and then takes it back, and mountain-man Jack MacChesney then also offers matrimony--out of pity, Ave assumes, so she rejects him--she's near despair. Moreover, a letter left by her mother informs Ave that her real father is a man who lives in Italy. Ave's emotional turmoil takes place against a colorfully detailed tour of Big Stone Gap's history and attractions, including its summer drama festival and its designation as the home of Appalachian bluegrass. Even the actual 1978 visit of senatorial candidate John Warner and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, plays a part in the story. In the tradition of romantic heroines, Ave is unable to recognize true love until it's almost too late, and meanwhile, there are some fairy tale touches, such as the arrival of her entire newly discovered Italian family. What saves the narrative from sentimentality and invests it with charm is Trigiani's witty voice, her tart-tongued but appealing heroine and her ability to recall the cultural details that immerse the reader in the atmosphere of her little mining town. Agent, Suzanne Gluck at ICM. 150,000 first printing; 9-city author tour; rights sold in the U.K, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain. (Apr.) FYI: Trigiani has been a playwright, the founder of a female comedy group, a writer for the Bill Cosby show and other TV series, and a documentary filmmaker. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Trigiani will put Big Stone Gap, VA, on the map with a nice, old-fashioned, feel-good first novel that is set in 1978. Local pharmacist Ave Maria Mulligan is 35 and on the verge of a series of life-changing events. Just what these are and how they affect those around her lifts the fictional formula of "true love with obstacles" to new heights. One chapter, which is based on a real-life campaign visit from John Warner and his then-wife Elizabeth Taylor is a hoot. And you don't want to miss Ave Maria's friend, the sexy Iva Lou Wade, one of the best fictional librarians to come along in years. For popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/99.]--Rebecca Sturm Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib, Highland Heights Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Sarah Jessica Parker Hilarious and romantic. I couldn't put it down -- a real page-turner
Fannie Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafE Funny, charming and original
John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Its characters are bizarre, its story is hilarious, and it hooked me on page one

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