THE DOLLMAKER by Harriette Arnow


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Hunter's Horn (1949) was an excellent hill country story and the beginning of this seems to promise a worthy successor but the scene changes for big, competent, Gertie, holding the dream of owning the Tipton place, leaves Kentucky to follow her Clovis to a war plant in Detroit. And there, transplanted to a shoddy, crowded, overwhelming new way of life, Gertie's days are jostled with the neighboring families -- the Andersons, Dalys, Max and Victor, Sophronie, and all the children, her nights are loud with inescapable secrets heard through the thin valls. Young Reuben runs away, back to Kentucky; Enoch, Clytie, and Amos ""adjust""; Cassie's witch-companion, Callie-Lou, keeps her happy but when Callie-Lou is denied, little Cassie dies. It is her whittlin' that brings Gertie out of the wasteland of despair when the war ends and strikes foment violence which involve Clovis and it is the whittlin' that brings her to realize that these years have surrounded her with ""crucified people"". This teems with ""project"" living -- real, raw, vicious and friendly and in sad contrast to the quiet and poor life in Kentucky; the transcription of common speech looks -- and sometimes sounds -- artificial and tends to annoy; but the overall picture of towering Gertie caged in a man-made civilization is impressive and touching as detail after detail is worked into her experiences. A book with a solid hold on its subject and a deep feeling for all kinds of people. Massive.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1954
ISBN: 1439154430
Publisher: Macmillan