The Bride of Ambrose and Other Stories

 New York, Soho Press (1987)

211 pages Hardcover $14.95

ISBN 0-939149-01-X



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The Bride of Ambrose, a collection of 11 short stories, is a brilliantly wrought, ambitious evocation of the lives that comprise a place—in this case, a rural Vermont township fifty or sixty years ago. It is about passionate, sensitive, impulsive women and men bound by love and mutual mystery. These stories are set in the town of Ambrose, Vermont, a place both fictional and very real. It is no rustic New England hamlet, except on the surface, and this work is not about the surface of things.


There was nothing to do in Ambrose. I joined the rescue. A rich man had about died because the ambulance from Brattleboro took an hour for the trip, so he bought Brattleboro’s older ambulance and set it up in Ambrose as Dead River Rescue. How is that for the name of something that is meant to save your life? (“Before He Went Out West”)



“Eleven stories about small-town Vermont that, though still evolving in voice, are done expertly and with aplomb. . . . While literary pedigree-showing can sometimes be limiting and restrictive . . . elements in these stories pull them into a life of their own. The theme of the oppressiveness of small-town life may be an inherited one, but Freeman’s ear is very nearly perfect and his eye sharp: the play of light and shadow in the slowly passing day of the exiled leftist [“The Exile, the Housekeeper, and Flora, Beauty of Rome”] is itself a model of how such things can be done well; and certain moments in the loosely paced title story (an unmarried girl, before leaving town, gives her baby away) will remain memorable—and lovely—well after the book is put down.”—Kirkus


“Castle Freeman’s prose is gentle but direct. He takes his time, probes and explores, sees irony in events but doesn’t overwork it, and treats everyone with respect, including us, his readers.”—Brattleboro (VT) Reformer


“With most of the stories in this fine volume, some secret seems to lurk beneath the normal and everyday appearance of things. Freeman’s deceptively simple, realistic storytelling hides depths upon depths of mystery.”—Kansas City Star