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The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow

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This is arguably the greatest novel by one of the very greatest twentieth century Appalachian authors. The protagonist, Gertie Nevels, stands as one of the strongest literary figures ever to come out of our region. Gertie's husband moves his family from Eastern Kentucky to Detroit during World War II. No novel has come close toportraying the experience of Appalachian people who moved north during the region's great migration. Two quotes from two different reviews in The New York Times give a sense of the central place this book holds in our literature: "A masterwork...A superb book of unforgettable strength and glowing richness." and "The depth and power and stature of this enormous book are rare indeed in modern fiction." Jane Fonda made this novel into a TV movie that starred her as Gertie in 1984. It won an Emmy. Harriette Arnow (1908-1986) grew up in Wayne County, Kentucky, a direct descendant of Bonnie Kate Sherrill, the wife of John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee. When her husband, Harold, got a job as a newspaperman in Detroit they moved first there and then to Ann Arbor, Michigan. She wrote both novels and non-fiction books, all but one, The Weedkiller's Daughter, were set in Eastern Kentucky.

New York: Perennial/HarperCollins, a 2003 reprint [this edition now out-of-print]of a 1954 release, 608 pages with an Afterword by Joyce Carol Oates. Trade paperback.