'A terrifying lesson in US history – and a haunting tragedy' Guardian
Gertie is the young mother of five children – uneducated, determined, strong. Her only ambition is to own her own small farm in the Kentucky hills where she lives, to become self-sufficient and free.
Whenever the struggle to live off the land eases, her inarticulate imagination takes its freedom and flies. Because Gertie is also an artist, a sculptor of wood and creator of beautiful handmade dolls.
When the family is forced to move to industrial Detroit, with its pre-fab houses, appliances bought on credit and neighbours on every side, life turns into an incomprehensible, lonely nightmare. Gertie realises she must adapt to a life where land, family and creativity are replaced by just one thing: the constant need for money.
‘A masterwork… A superb book of unforgettable strength and glowing richness’ New York Times
WITH AN AFTERWORD BY JOYCE CAROL OATES
"A masterwork...A superb book of unforgettable strength and glowing richness"
"A book of biblical intensity... With vivid insights into racial, religious and labour tensions, this is a terrifying lesson in US history – and a haunting tragedy"
"An extraordinary novel, one that burns ferociously with the great twinned fires of country and city that constitute America. Its opening pages are among the most striking I’ve read in recent years but so are its last. May this hard, beautiful story find the many new readers it deserves"
"It is a legitimate tragedy, our most unpretentious American masterpiece"
"The depth and power and stature of this enormous book are rare indeed in modern fiction"