Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage, this Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel (1934) depicts a white, middle-class urban family that is turned into dirt-poor farmers by the Depression and the great drought of the thirties. Like "Ethan Frome," the relatively brief, intense story evokes the torment possible among people isolated and driven by strong feelings of love and hate that, unexpressed, lead inevitably to doom. Reviewers in the thirties praised the novel, calling its prose "profoundly moving music," expressing incredulity "that this mature style and this mature point of view are those of a young women in her twenties," comparing the book to "the luminous work of Willa Cather," and, with prescience, suggesting that it "has that rare quality of timelessness which is the mark of first-rate fiction."
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(203mm x 127mm x 18mm)
Feminist Press at The City University of New York
Publisher: Feminist Press at The City University of New York
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
This classic American novel tells the story of a family with three daughters who are forced out of the city by debt to live on a heavily mortgaged farm during the Depression. It recounts the devastating effects of economic and political unrest on a family already driven nearly to desperation by poverty. And then at the beginning of a drought, a charismatic farmhand arrives to work for them.... What happens next verges on the predictable, but this is a novel where plot is secondary to characterization. Johnson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel fully deserves all the accolades it received when it was published in 1934. Her prose is almost poetic at times, and yet this is a novel concerned with the intimate tensions and heartaches of family life and becoming an adult. Johnson's characters are beautifully realized, and it is impossible not to end up caring deeply about all of them - even those who are not 'nice', or who hurt the other members of the family. The narrator is the middle daughter, and she is perhaps the finest of Johnson's creations: despite spending most of the novel in unspoken longing for the farmhand, she is never melodramatic, and her final acceptance of her fate is both underplayed and highly emotional. Above all Now in November is about the interaction of humanity and nature. The family, who only just earn enough from their farm to pay the mortgage, are at the mercy of the weather, and it is the drought that indirectly causes the novel's most tragic episode. Despite the ever-present sense that they are being slowly crushed by forces beyond their control, the narrator never loses hope, and the renewal of the natural world around her is a constant source of inspiration. Some of Johnson's most eloquent prose is about the arrival of spring, or the almost animal-like qualities of a bush fire. The power of her writing is not easily forgotten, and her characters will haunt the reader long after they have put the book down. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Josephine W. Johnson