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The Quickening (2010)

by Michelle Hoover

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2543593,283 (3.53)57
Enidina Current and Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest during the early 1900s. This hardscrabble life comes easily to some, like Eddie, but for the deeply religious Mary, farming is at odds with her more cosmopolitan inclinations. Still, Mary creates a clean and orderly home life for her stormy husband, Jack, and her sons, while she adapts to the isolation of a rural town through the inspiration of a local preacher. She is the first to befriend Eddie in a relationship that will prove as rugged as the ground they walk on. Despite having little in common, Eddie and Mary need one another for survival and companionship. But as the Great Depression threatens, the delicate balance of their reliance on one another tips, pitting neighbor against neighbor, exposing the dark secrets they hide from one another, and triggering a series of disquieting events that threatens to unravel not only their friendship but their families as well. In this luminous and unforgettable debut, Michelle Hoover explores the polarization of the human soul in times of hardship and the instinctual drive for self-preservation by whatever means necessary. The Quickening stands as a novel of lyrical precision and historical consequence, reflecting the resilience and sacrifices required even now in our modern troubled times.… (more)
  1. 30
    Gap Creek by Robert Morgan (lahochstetler)
    lahochstetler: Books about rural women and families, the difficulties and realities of farming life.
  2. 10
    A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (susiesharp)
    susiesharp: These two books had the same feel to them
  3. 00
    Giants in the Earth by O. E. Rølvaag (infiniteletters)
  4. 00
    The Whole World Over by Julia Glass (Anonymous user)
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» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Quick read. Beautifully written book, very much character driven, quiet drama, disturbing truths, haunting. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Lyrical prose, superb description, dialogue that rings true. Akin to The Color Purple but without the gratifying ending. Should have left off the last chapter, because the penultimate is raw and edgy and deep, and the last is a poor attempt at a salve. Worth reading for a gritty transport to the era, and for a lesson in writing tight, effective prose. ( )
  GinaFava | Apr 11, 2018 |
Beautifully written, and especially interesting as it is told from the perspectives of two characters. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
If any writer could ever convince you that life on a farm is completely, impossibly difficult, in ANY era, it's Michelle Hoover, the granddaughter of four farm families. This solid novel centers on two neighbor women: Eddie, strong as a man, and Mary, devious and discontent. Their lives weave disturbing patterns around each other and their growing families, town, and church. They are dependent and resentful of each other and envious of each other's lives and circumstances. However, there is also love and attachment and respect, and the contradictory feelings lead to a great deal of trouble and to bad, bad outcomes.

The story is told in alternating chapters in the women's voices. It is refreshing to have rural lives told solely by women. Husbands and sons are present but their thoughts are hidden from the tale. There is also a mystical air of "unknown knowns" that leaves the reader very satisfied at the end.

I would compare Hoover to Jane Smiley, Conrad Richter, and Timothy Egan as fine storytellers of this most difficult of American lives. ( )
  froxgirl | Sep 17, 2015 |
Gorgeous and luminous writing. I was captivated by Hoover's rendering of the stark landscape and the strange friendship between Enidina Current and Mary Morrow as the Depression challenged their survival and their humanity. ( )
  EllenMeeropol | Apr 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Starred Review
"In this finely wrought and starkly atmospheric narrative, Hoover's characters carry deep secrets, and their emotions are as intense as the acts of nature that shape their world."
added by MichelleHoover | editPublisher's Weekly (May 10, 2010)
 
“A vivid, pastoral panorama …imbued throughout with a careful and evenly wrought lyricism.”
 
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My boy, you might think an old woman hasn't much to say about living, but your grandmother knows when a person does right by her and when they don't.
Quotations
When finally my hands grew quiet, they rested on my stomach and I felt a fullness there. A quickening to accompany me.
My boy, I may tell you things that are difficult to know. I am not always proud. There are times in this life when a person suffers from the ways of others. And there are times when a person does a terrible wrong, if only because she can’t see through to anything else.
The leaves hung with grasshoppers. Dirt drifted under our doors and through the cracks between the window. In the distance, the horizon wavered like smoke, and the wind never stopped its grazing. … Frank and I took to sitting on the porch in the daytime, watching the sun take our crops as it would. Before us, the corn hummed with insects and brittle leaves. A terrible, hungry sound.
After the fire, that attic must have felt full of his being gone.
No matter what she’d done, she and Kyle had given Frank something in the end. My boy, as you read this, you should know. You were a gift in your grandfather’s eyes.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Enidina Current and Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest during the early 1900s. This hardscrabble life comes easily to some, like Eddie, but for the deeply religious Mary, farming is at odds with her more cosmopolitan inclinations. Still, Mary creates a clean and orderly home life for her stormy husband, Jack, and her sons, while she adapts to the isolation of a rural town through the inspiration of a local preacher. She is the first to befriend Eddie in a relationship that will prove as rugged as the ground they walk on. Despite having little in common, Eddie and Mary need one another for survival and companionship. But as the Great Depression threatens, the delicate balance of their reliance on one another tips, pitting neighbor against neighbor, exposing the dark secrets they hide from one another, and triggering a series of disquieting events that threatens to unravel not only their friendship but their families as well. In this luminous and unforgettable debut, Michelle Hoover explores the polarization of the human soul in times of hardship and the instinctual drive for self-preservation by whatever means necessary. The Quickening stands as a novel of lyrical precision and historical consequence, reflecting the resilience and sacrifices required even now in our modern troubled times.

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Book description
A debut novel of an epic feud, marked by violence and retribution, between two neighboring farm matriarchs during the Great Depression.
Enidina Current and Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest during the early 1900's. This hard-scrabble life comes easy to some, like Eddie, who has never wanted more than the land she works and the animals she raises on it with her husband Frank. But for the deeply religious Mary, farming is an awkward living and at odds with her more cosmopolitan inclinations. Still, Mary creates a clean and orderly home life for her stormy husband Jack and her sons, while she adapts to the isolation of a rural town through the inspiration of a local preacher. She is the first to befriend Eddie in a relationship that will prove rugged. Despite having little in common, Eddie and Mary need one another for survival and companionship more than they let on. But as the Great Depression threatens, the delicate balance of their reliance on one another tips, pitting neighbor against neighbor, exposing the secrets they hide from one another, and triggering a series of disquieting events that threaten to unravel not only their friendship but their families as well.
In this luminous and unforgettable debut, Michelle Hoover explores the polarization of the human soul in times of hardship and the instinctual drive for self-preservation. THE QUICKENING stands as a novel of lyrical precision and historical consequence, reflecting the resilience and sacrifices required even now in our modern troubled times.
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Michelle Hoover's book The Quickening was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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Michelle Hoover chatted with LibraryThing members from Jul 19, 2010 to Jul 26, 2010. Read the chat.

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