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Vinegar Hill

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Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

In 1998, on the merits of her second novel, River Angel, the Utne Reader named A. Manette Ansay one of ten writers most likely to "change the way you see the world." The Utne Reader wasn't the only one to take notice, though. The following year, Oprah Winfrey made a bestseller out of Ansay's first novel, Vinegar Hill, when she selected it for her celebrated bookclub. As the novel opens, Ellen Grier finds herself back in the Midwestern town she thought she had escaped forever. To make matters worse, due to unfortunate circumstances, Ellen and her family are forced to move in with her husband's parents. And a more loveless home would be hard to find — James's parents are rigid, pious, and cruel; and they don't like Ellen — so it comes as no surprise when Ellen begins to feel claustrophobic and to worry about the negative effects of raising her children in such an atmosphere. But after many months of effort spent suppressing her feelings and trying to make the best of a bad situation, Ellen finally discovers the family's darkest secret, which is all the impetus she needs to take the necessary steps to free herself. Given the harsh realities of this book, the story could have easily turned into simplistic polemic, but Ansay avoids this by making her characters fully dimensional and sympathetic, and by giving the gothic situations they find themselves in an element of black humor. Ansay also makes Ellen's story a pleasure to read through the simple elegance of her writing. Farley, Powells.com

Publisher Comments:

In a stark, troubling, yet ultimately triumphant celebration of self-determination, award-winning author A. Manette Ansay re-creates a stifling world of guilty and pain, and the tormented souls who inhabit it. It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen has brought her two children into the home of her in-laws on Vinegar Hill--a loveless house suffused with the settling dust of bitterness and routine--where calculated cruelty is a way of life preserved and perpetuated in the service of a rigid, exacting and angry God. Behind a facade of false piety, there are sins and secrets in this place that could crush a vibrant young woman's passionate spirit. And here Ellen must find the straight to endure, change, and grow in the all-pervading darkness that threatens to destroy everything she is and everyone she loves.

Review:

"Ansay transcends both feminist epic and Midwestern gothic to achieve, finally, the lunar world of tragedy. This world is lit by the measured beauty of her prose, and the book's final line is worth the pain it takes to get there." The New Yorker

About the Author

A. Manette Ansay grew up in rural Wisconsin one of sixty-seven cousins and more than two hundred second cousins in a large extended Catholic farming family. At thirty-six, she is the author of four highly acclaimed novels, including Midnight Champagne, a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, and Vinegar Hill, an Oprah's Book Club Selection, as well as Sister, River Angel, and a collection of short stories, Read This and Tell Me What It Says. She lives in New York City with her husband of eleven years, and is at work on another novel.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780688180638
Author:
Ansay, A. Manette
Publisher:
William Morrow
Author:
Ansay, A. Manette
Location:
New York, N.Y. :
Subject:
General
Subject:
City and town life
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Married women
Subject:
Catholics
Subject:
Middle west
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Oprah's Book Club (Hardcover)
Series Volume:
99-17
Publication Date:
19991123
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.57x5.87x1.06 in. .91 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Vinegar Hill Used Hardcover
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$5.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780688180638 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Ansay transcends both feminist epic and Midwestern gothic to achieve, finally, the lunar world of tragedy. This world is lit by the measured beauty of her prose, and the book's final line is worth the pain it takes to get there."
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