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Shelf Renewal

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Nobody puts backlist in a corner—readers'-advisory experts Karen Kleckner Keefe and Rebecca Vnuk bring attention to older titles by featuring "dusty books" and offering read-alikes for what’s hot on the holds list.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 8:00 am
Dusty Book: Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh
Posted by: Rebecca Vnuk

In Baker Towers, Jennifer Haigh paints an evocative picture of a post-World World II mining town in Pennsylvania. After Stanley Novak dies unexpectedly, his widow and children try to escape their dreary life. Mother Rose struggles but can never escape the narrow-mindedness that goes along with small town life. Her five children try to fit in to the world around them, awash in the many changes of the era.

Spanning three decades and a host of rich characters, this is a deep and true family story, and Haigh captures the hardscrabble era with grace and sympathy. For fans of historical fiction (WW II era), family dramas, and those who simply enjoy  good writing.  The Booklist review:Baker Towers is a novel possessing a rare, quiet power to evoke a time long past and the character of the people who lived then.”

Readers should note that Haigh has written a follow-up to Baker Towers, a linked short story collection titled News From Heaven, which gives some background to many of the characters and places found in the first novel. You can read my review of it here.


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