The Quickening: Book summary and reviews of The Quickening by Michelle Hoover

The Quickening

by Michelle Hoover

The Quickening by Michelle Hoover X
The Quickening by Michelle Hoover
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Book Summary

Paperback Original. 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, 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 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 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 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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Hoover's characters carry deep secrets, and their emotions are as intense as the acts of nature that shape their world." - Publishers Weekly

"At times slow-moving, but imbued throughout with a careful and evenly wrought lyricism." - Kirkus Reviews

"Borrowing from her own family history, Hoover burns away the glamour of the pioneer life, blending history and brilliant storytelling. This standout novel is highly recommended." - Library Journal

"I grew up among Iowa farm women, and Michelle Hoover has perfectly captured their voices and stories with great wisdom, tenderness, and beauty." - Ted Kooser, U. S. Poet Laureate 2004-2006

"Though The Quickening is her first novel, Michelle Hoover does what all the best writers steeped in a particular place do—use that place as a conduit to the universal and timeless mysteries of the heart. What an exceptional debut this book is." - Ron Rash, author of Serena

"From the opening pages of this beautiful novel, I found myself immersed in the lives of these two farm women between the wars and their struggles with their families, themselves, the land and each other. The Quickening is such a fully realized, sensually vivid, psychologically intelligent novel that it's hard to believe it is a debut, but it is and a sparkling one." - Margot Livesey

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Reader Reviews

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Beth K

Wonderful literary novel
I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher, Other Press LLC.

I highly recommend this book for those who like literary fiction.

By the end of this novel I was simply captivated. Ms. Hoover is a wonderful storyteller and her characterizations are vivid and entirely believable. I could clearly see each of the women, their husbands and their children as if they were sitting with me while I read. Turning the pages, you feel the dreariness, desperation and deep isolation as the families struggle to survive. And, while the book is a somber one, there are also moments of profound joy, particularly in the marriage of Enidina and Frank. Perhaps most compelling for me was way the author enabled me to appreciate the sensibilities of a community and way of life with which I am wholly unfamiliar.

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Author Information

Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover teaches writing at Boston University and Grub Street and has published fiction in Confrontation, The Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, and Best New American Voices, among others. She has been a Bread Loaf Writer's Conference scholar, the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, aMacDowell fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and in 2005 the winner of the PEN/NewEngland Discovery Award for Fiction. She was born in Ames, Iowa, the granddaughterof four longtime farming families.

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