From the ever-popular Gilchrist, a chronologically arranged gathering of 24 Rhoda Manning stories--the author's libidinous fictional alter ego: 22 of the tales are culled from all five of Gilchrist's previous collections (The Age of Miracles, p. 252, etc.); the remaining two are brand-new. From childhood to middle age, Rhoda represents Gilchrist at her southern, sexually charged best. In one omnibus volume, we're taken from a life of privilege on a plantation to first loves and diet pills, to alcohol and free love, to Xanax and fearful flings in the age of AIDS. Throughout, Gilchrist's plucky heroine--from raising kids to having an abortion, to school and travels far and wide, and finally to a successful career as a writer--remains indomitable and eager for action. ``Rhoda is passion, energy, light,'' the author says in her charming introduction--and Rhoda is indeed the shining manifestation of Gilchrist's wry, intelligent, and passionate writing.