A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me
David Gates
“An Actor Prepares”

“An Actor Prepares” is from David Gates’s latest collection, A HAND REACHED DOWN TO GUIDE ME (Knopf, 2015).  Gates’s first novel, JERNIGAN was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1992 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has published short stories in The New Yorker, Tin House, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.


Janet Maslin, writing in The New York Times, said:  So his latest collection, A HAND REACHED DOWN TO GUIDE ME, is a new, improved Baedeker to the aging academic’s methods of inflicting havoc on himself and anyone around him. Most of these stories have already been published (primarily in The Paris Review and GQ), but their cumulative effect is still powerful, like watching Godzilla stomp on Tokyo.


David Ulin, writing in the Los Angeles Times, said: I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure we’d see another book of fiction by David Gates. It’s been 16 years since his last, the collection THE WONDERS OF THE INVISIVBLE WORLD, and even longer since his two novels, JERNIGAN, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and the magnificent PRESTON FALLS.


Kirkus Reviews wrote: Gates explores–though maybe the better term is strip-mines–well-off souls hitting the skids thanks to divorce, illness, self-medication, or some combination thereof.

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