“Michelle Hoover’s fine debut novel recreates for us a way of life and a set of personalities that have vanished from our current scene, and she does so with a solidity of detail that will impress these people and these places forever on your memory.”
– Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love
“Hoover paints stormy scenes of individuals and communities at odds with one another and with their own dark histories in a vivid, pastoral panorama. Ultimately, this is the story of survival—how life quickens and is borne on through turmoil, pain and perseverance… imbued throughout with a careful and evenly wrought lyricism.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Hoover drew on a 15-page recollection left by her great-grandmother for this novel set in rural Iowa early in the last century. . . . [and] succeeds in creating a sense of what life was like for women in that time and place.” —Booklist
Loosely based on her own family’s history, THE QUICKENING tells the fictional story of the bitter feud that emerges between two Iowa farming families. Years ago, Hoover discovered an old family document—the fifteen pages were poorly typed, with her great-grandmother’s name and date of birth, 1880, at the top. Perhaps my life, it read, and that of my dear husband has meant little or nothing to anyone except to us and our immediate family. Written during the last year of her great-grandmother’s life, it was a reflection on a long life of hardship and loss on the family’s Iowa farm, and covered more than seventy years.
In THE QUICKENING, hard-worn Enidina Current and passionate Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest. Drawn together out of loneliness, female companionship, and necessity, Enidina and Mary forge a profound bond soon challenged by a series of disquieting events. As conflict simmers between their two families and the Great Depression threatens their livelihoods, Mary struggles with her conscience over a secret she keeps from her abusive husband, and Enidina fights to hold her marriage, family, and farm together. Told in their two voices in lyrical prose, within a landscape that binds and challenges them all, THE QUICKENING is a story of survival and hardship, violence and betrayal, and the discovery and loss of lifelong love.
Michelle Hoover was born in Ames, Iowa, and is descended from four generations of Iowa farmers. She teaches writing at Boston University and Grub Street. Her fiction has been published inConfrontation, The Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner,StoryQuarterly, and Best New American Voices. She is a finalist for New Letter’s Dorothy Churchill Cappon Essay Prize and has been a Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference scholar, the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and in 2005 the winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award for Fiction. For more information visit www.michellehoover.net