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The Resource The sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, Beverly Jensen

The sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, Beverly Jensen

Label
The sisters from Hardscrabble Bay
Title
The sisters from Hardscrabble Bay
Statement of responsibility
Beverly Jensen
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Spanning the years 1916 to 1987, the lives of sisters Idella and Avis Hillock are described in a series of vignettes, opening with an account of their mother's death in childbirth and closing with Idella's husband, Eddie, now an old man, reminiscing about his life with Idella. Set in the rough landscape of New Brunswick, Canada
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Jensen’s tale of two sisters begins in New Brunswick. When their mother dies, Idella and Avis are left in the care of their father, who is overwhelmed by the tasks of raising a household of several young children and eking out a meager living on a potato farm. The book—a series of interconnected stories, really—follows Idella and Avis as they grow up and move to America. Idella ends up in Maine with a wandering husband and a frightful mother-in-law. Avis, the wilder one, lives in Boston and goes through what she describes as “a shitload of men.” The book encompasses more than 70 years, and the early chapters, especially the one in which a French Canadian girl named Maddie comes to help out on the farm, are the strongest. If the later sections read more like family memoir being forced into a fictional shape, they are nevertheless notable for vivid writing and strong characterizations. Jensen died before seeing any of her work published; this is a fine tribute. -- Quinn, Mary Ellen (Reviewed 04-15-2010) (Booklist, vol 106, number 16, p39)
  • The title of Jensen’s posthumous debut adequately sums up its tone and economic milieu. Spanning the years 1916 to 1987, the novel offers vignettes from the lives of sisters Idella and Avis Hillock, opening with an account of their mother’s death in childbirth and closing with Idella’s husband, Eddie, now an old man, reminiscing about his life with Idella. The Hillock girls spent their early years in the rough landscape of New Brunswick, Canada, where grief and hard living have damaged their widowed father. Eventually, Idella escapes to New England, where she finds a husband and her own domestic troubles. Younger, more attractive sister Avis has an even harder path ahead; after attracting the ardor of her father’s friends as a teen, she embarks on a series of damaging romantic entanglements. This has an unfinished feel to it (Jensen died unpublished in 2003), and while the sisters’ troubled relationship rings true, the story-like chapters feel quite independent of one another, and the dialogue has a tendency to veer into forced colloquialisms and melodrama. Readers will be left wondering what else Jensen might have written had her career not been cut short. (July) --Staff (Reviewed May 3, 2010) (Publishers Weekly, vol 257, issue 18, p28)
  • This novel opens in remote New Brunswick in the early 20th century, at a farm situated along a seaside cliff. Idella and Avis Hillock live there with their parents and older brother, but when their lovely mother dies giving birth to baby sister Emma, the household becomes forlorn. Tended to by rough French-speaking girls from the country and shipped off to relatives in Maine when their sometimes violent father can't cope, they struggle to adulthood. The harsh life and times of the sisters is presented in sharp detail through their own eyes, with issues of class and gender revealed along the way. VERDICT From their rocky beginnings through their father's death and their own old age in 1986, the sisters' tale remains compelling. Jensen, who died before she could publish, has since been championed by Joyce Carol Oates. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/10.]—Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., VA --Ann H. Fisher (Reviewed April 15, 2010) (Library Journal, vol 135, issue 7, p74)
  • /* Starred Review */ Published posthumously, Jenson's debut is a rich cycle-of-life narrative about the title's two Canadian sisters, who grow up in rural poverty and make their way in the world, remaining close despite differences in disposition and ambition.Della Hillock and her wilder younger sister Avis spend their early childhood on a New Brunswick farm with their father, whom they call Dad, and older brother Dalton. Although he can turn mean when he's drinking, Dad tries to do right by his kids after the death of his wife in 1916. When the (perhaps too) appealing but troubled French Canadian girl he's hired to care for the girls doesn't work out, he sends them to relatives in Maine to be educated. But when he's seriously injured in 1921, the girl must return to care for him. Della, who is the hard worker, chafes at the responsibilities she carries and feels jealous of the more carefree Avis, who drinks and carouses with Dad. Both sibling rivalry and camaraderie is expressed in small, jewel-like moments—picking blueberries, fighting over a dress. Before she's 20, Della escapes again to the States and works as a domestic servant until she meets Eddie, who will become her husband. While focusing on her women characters, Jenson is generous with her men as well. Eddie is a painfully complex man, a devoted if resentful son of a crazy mother who grows into a devoted if adulterous husband. Meanwhile, Avis ends up in the States too but never quite settles down. She spends time in prison for borderline prostitution, drinks heavily and goes through one man after another while working as a hairdresser. But Della is no prude, and Avis has delicate sensibilities. When Dad dies in 1966, Avis and Dalton, now an alcoholic, arrive with the body just in time for the kind of family send-off their father would have loved. Straightforward yet lyric prose and an eye for the crucial detail bring the Hillocks' world vividly to life. (Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2010)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
348817
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1953-2003
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Jensen, Beverly
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3610.E5625
LC item number
S57 2010
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Sisters
  • City and town life
  • New England
  • New Brunswick
Target audience
adult
Label
The sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, Beverly Jensen
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
307 pages
Isbn
9780670021666
Lccn
2009049272
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 466335798
  • (OCoLC)466335798
Label
The sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, Beverly Jensen
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
307 pages
Isbn
9780670021666
Lccn
2009049272
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 466335798
  • (OCoLC)466335798

Library Locations

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      37.377573 -76.770995
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