In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, Ellen Gilchrist's acclaimed 1981 debut collection of short stories, introduced readers to a remarkable Southern voice which has sustained its power and influence through her more than 20 subsequent books. Gilchrist has a distinctive ear for language, and a deep understanding of her flawed, sometimes tragic characters. These fourteen stories, divided into three sections — There's a Garden of Eden, Things Like the Truth, and Perils of the Nile — are about mostly young, upper-class Southern women who are bored with the Junior League and having babies, and chafe against the restrictions of their sheltered lives. Talented and bright, but living in the shadow of men — their husbands and fathers — they resort to outrageous actions in pursuit of freer lives and uncompromised love, despite the consequences. This collection first introduced readers to some of Gilchrist's most beloved characters, such as Rhoda Manning and Nora Jane Whittington.
"It's difficult to review a first book as good as this one without resorting to every known superlative cliché…Gilchrist is the real thing." —Washington Post
“A sustained display of delicately and rhythmically modulated prose and an unsentimental dissection of raw sentiment. Her stories are perceptive, her manner is both stylish and idiomatic – a rare and potent combination.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Witty, concise and wonderfully varied.” —Literary Review
“Gilchrist possess a distinctive voice, and blends a sense of poignancy with an often outrageously Gothic humor.” —New York Times Book Review
“Her prose is quick-witted and urbane and as gossipy as Vanity Fair. Quite simply there is no Southern writer quite like her.” —Raleigh News & Observer