Synopses & Reviews
This work first appeared in a story collection in 1984, six years after the author, octogenarian Meridel Le Sueur, had rescued the yellowing manuscript from her basement. Strikingly parallel to Le Sueur's city novel The Girl
, I Hear Men Talking
was written primarily in the 1930s, depicting life in rural Iowa during the Depression.
In the novel the girl Penelope runs about the town, visiting its principal actors and recovering their stories: the ruined Mr. Littlefield recalls his bygone days of eloquence; the self-deceived Miss Shelly provides a mystery for Penelope to unravel; the farmers talking behind the closed doors of their houses stir up a fresh brew of revolt. Penelope's mother Mona and grandmother Gee recall the author's own family in troubled times.
In this revised edition the novel stands alone. Linda Ray Pratt has carefully re-edited the manuscript and provides a new introduction. In an afterword written in 1984, Meridel Le Sueur considers her reasons for publishing the work: "The artist's duty now is to recreate a new image of the world, to return to the people their need and vision . . . . of a new birth of abundance and equality."
Written primarily in the 1930s, depicting life in rural Iowa during the Depression.
Fiction. Women's literature. Meridel Le Sueur (1900-1996) lived all of her life in the middle west, where she became a voice of conscience for her time. Her second novel, I HEAR MEN TALKING, written in the 1930s but only published in 1984, is her most neglected work. This second edition, with a new introduction by Linda Ray Pratt, should help give this story of farm life in the Depression its rightful place in American literature. "Here are no Hollywood artifices, no easy conclusions, but a Midwest town caught up in a turmoil of desire, betrayal, birth, transformation--and, as Le Sueur so movingly renders it, hope" --Paul Lauter.
Penelope, a girl in Depression-era rural Iowa, is witness to the personal and political dramas of her family and neighbors during hard times.
"Selected bibliography of recent criticism about Le Sueur's fiction": p. xxxi.
About the Author
Meridel Le Sueur was born into a socialist family in 1900 and lived until 1996, spending most of her life in the Middle West. Her stunning and eloquent works include short stories, novels, popular histories, books for children, poetry, and memoir. Blacklisted during the McCarthy era in the 1950s, Le Sueur regained prominence during the rise of the feminist movement in the 1970s.