Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: The Quickening

This novel follows the lives of two women living on adjacent farms on the Great Plains during the Great Depression. Enidina and Mary, two very different women, are brought together by geography, but have little else in common. Enidina's life is filled with sorrows, but Mary has little ability to empathize. Mary, while devoutly religious, is convinced in the ultimate rightness of her actions, even when those actions are questionable or self-serving. Meanwhile, Enidina is the very definition of Christian patience. She takes death, poverty, and the hardships of farm life with a quiet patience and stoicism.

This was quite an interesting book, though it was rather slow to start. I found the characters somewhat difficult to get to know, living out the image of the taciturn Midwesterner. I also found the format to be a bit clunky; much of the book is written as Enidina's letters to her grandson. The end of the book is quite good. Hoover has captured a particular type of character, the strong Midwestern farm wife, brilliantly.

Michelle Hoover, The Quickening (Other Press, 2010) ISBN: 1590513460

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