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A collection of short stories by Allan Gurganus (Knopf, 252 pp. Hardcover, $21.95 ISBN 0-394-58841-X), author of the bestselling book Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.

This book talks about white people in the South, and it deals a lot with guilt and racism and all the things you would expect such a book to deal with. But it does it without moralizing or preaching, without justifying racism, and without creating two-dimentional cliched characters. The characters seem like real people, with real, sometimes egregious faults.

This is a great book to read when trying to understand the South and race relations. Or (if you're like me) just trying to understand your relatives.