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The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton

The Book of Ruth (edition 1988)

by Jane Hamilton

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3,050411,859 (3.51)48
Title:The Book of Ruth
Authors:Jane Hamilton
Info:Black Swan (1999), Paperback, 334 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2001, fiction, movie (not seen), illinois, 1980s

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The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton



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Ruth is a small-town young woman with not too much going for her. She works at the local dry cleaner; she and her husband live with her mother; she goes bowling on a Saturday night. Ruth's Aunt Sid has made a life for herself as a musician and teacher and their written correspondence gives Ruth a glimpse into life outside her small town.

The author has a beautiful writing style. She paints a picture of a complicated mother-daughter relationship and a troubled marriage as seen through Ruth's eyes. She has created a character who put me in mind of Rohinton Mistry's two beggars in 'A Fine Balance' - no matter how life kicks you in the teeth, you accept and carry on because, well, what else is there to do?

Toward the end of the book, a family tragedy changes Ruth's life - perhaps for the better. But I never really got the feeling that she felt she needed to be saved.

I liked this book rather a lot. It's pretty slow moving, but every page can be savoured. ( )
  EvelynBernard | Mar 7, 2017 |
Set in a small town in Illinois ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Oct 16, 2016 |
Oprah's choice

This exquisite book confronts real-life issues of alienation and violence from which the author creates a stunning testament to the human capacity for mercy, compassion and love.
  christinejoseph | Apr 15, 2016 |
One of my favorite books. Great novel that shows the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and a troubled marriage. Highly recommend. ( )
  lacey.tucker | Mar 10, 2016 |
This is an emotionally difficult book to read, but extraordinarily well written. Highly recommend it. A very good book for group discussion. What happens is so chilling; but I believe Ruth will triumph and I would love to read a sequel. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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First words
What it begins with, I know finally, is the kernel of meanness in people's hearts.
The whole world is not set on doing you wrong, Ma. You're doing battle with yourself.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385265700, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, November 1996: The Book of Ruth is a virtuoso performance and that's precisely why it can be excruciating to read. Author Jane Hamilton leads us through the arid life of Ruth Grey, who extracts what small pleasures and graces she can from a tiny Illinois town and the broken people who inhabit it. Ruth's prime tormentor is her mother May, whose husband died in World War II and took her future with him. More poor familial luck has given Ruth a brother who is a math prodigy; Matt sucks up any stray attention like a black hole. Ruth is left to survive on her own resources, which are meager. She struggles along, subsisting on crumbs of affection meted out by her Aunt Sid and, later, her screwed-up husband Ruby. Hamilton has perfect pitch. So perfect that you wince with pain for confused but fundamentally good Ruth as she walks a dead-end path. The book ends with the prospect of redemption, thank goodness--but the tale is nevertheless much more bitter than sweet.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:21 -0400)

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Ruth, a young woman living in a rural Illinois town, looks back on the people who have shaped her life, including her runaway father, shrewish mother, and crazy husband.

(summary from another edition)

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