The Quickening

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2010-06-29
  • Publisher: Other Press
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In this luminous and unforgettable debut, Hoover explores the polarization of the human soul in times of hardship and the instinctual drive for self-preservation by whatever means necessary.

Author Biography

Michelle Hoover teaches writing at Boston University and Grub Street and
has published fiction in Confrontation, The Massachusetts Review, Prairie
, and Best New American Voices, among others.  She has been a Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference scholar, the Philip Roth Writerin- 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. She was born in Ames, Iowa,
the granddaughter of four longtime farming families.


Together my sons stood with the sow between them and watched their father
stagger home, going slow, unable to get his footing. The rain hissed and grew,
making rivers in the mud, and my sons squinted under their hats and tried to
find their father through the storm.
   But none of us could see him now. That was the way he went, walking off
through the mud, the last I saw of the man I married, the man I knew—he
would always be gone after that, a man of fog and temper, he would never come
back, not for the six more years that I would live with him and scrub his shirts
and cook his meals. Those Currents had trapped him. They had promised they
would do what they should and sent him off to have to finish it, coming home
with stains so dark on his sleeves that I had to turn that shirt to rags. After he
walked off in that rain, you could no longer say we were husband and wife—we
were little more than strangers. Later when the body of that man went, his passing
was quick, without a shiver, without absolution. I found him again in our
bed, stiff and cold where I woke in the morning next to him, clutching the blanket.
Still nothing more than a stone sat inside my chest, because my husband had
already disappeared from me years ago in that storm.

Excerpted from The Quickening by Michelle Hoover
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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