A. Manette Ansay Vinegar Hill: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780670852536

Vinegar Hill: A Novel

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9780670852536: Vinegar Hill: A Novel
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Ellen Grier returns with her husband and children to their midwestern Catholic hometown to live with her narrow-minded in-laws, coping with the family's eccentricity and confronting a hidden secret festering in her husband's past. A first novel. Tour.

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Review:

Oprah Book Club® Selection, November 1999: Vinegar Hill is an appropriate address for the characters who populate A. Manette Ansay's novel of the same name. After all, when Ellen Grier and her family return to the rural hamlet of Holly's Field, Wisconsin, it's not exactly a happy homecoming. Her husband, James, has been laid off from his job in Illinois. And for the moment, the family has moved in with Ellen's in-laws, Fritz and Mary-Margaret, an unhappy pair who dislike their daughter-in-law almost as much as they despise each other:

The first time Ellen sat at this table she was twenty years old, bright-cheeked after a spring afternoon spent walking along the lakefront with James, planning their upcoming wedding. It was 1959 and she was eager to make a good impression. She didn't know then that Mary-Margaret disliked her, that she was considered Jimmy's mistake.
Thirteen years later, in 1972, Ellen is back at the table with no escape in sight. Both she and her husband do find work. Yet James seems to settle a tad too easily into his old life, and shows no interest in finding a place of their own. Even worse, his job takes him away from home for weeks at a time, leaving Ellen to cope with her abusive in-laws.

In Vinegar Hill Ansay paints a searing portrait of the Midwest's dark side, of a rural culture infected with despair and ruled over by an unforgiving God. Yet she does hold out a grain of hope, too. Just as Ellen seems permanently entangled in familial desperation, she makes a surprising discovery about James's long-dead grandmother--a woman whose rebellious spirit inspires Ellen to rescue herself and her loved ones from the impinging darkness. This late-breaking redemption doesn't cancel out the preceding unhappiness: Vinegar Hill remains a tough, uncompromising tale, one that requires some fortitude to read. But those with the heart for it will be rewarded with fine, spare prose and a hopeful ending. --Alix Wilber

From the Publisher:

Praise for Sister

"A soul aches here, and the future seems forlorn. But Sister rises above that with its frankness and acuity, and the rhythmic beauty of its prose." -The New York Times Book Review

Praise for River Angel

"A writer with a gift for persuasive and shapely narrative...With River Angel, A. Manette Ansay has moved beyond her prior mastery of the family scene to lucid, eloquent representation of the commingled and conflicting lives of a town." -The New York Times Book Review

Praise for Midnight Champagne

"A funny, touching novel...[Ansay] weaves in and out of the sundry dramas with grace, warmth, and a good deal of humor, striking a fine balance between comedy and compassion." -The New York Times Book Review

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060897840: Vinegar Hill (P.S.)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0060897848 ISBN 13:  9780060897840
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2006
Softcover

9780380730131: Vinegar Hill (Oprah's Book Club)

Harper..., 1998
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9780688180638: Vinegar Hill: A Novel

Willia..., 1999
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9780755335480: Vinegar Hill

Headli..., 2007
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9780752838205: Vinegar Hill (Oprah's Bookclub)

Orion ..., 2000
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