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Unger, Douglas

ISBN 10: 0060152699 / ISBN 13: 9780060152697
Published by New York: Harper & Row, 1984. dj, 1984
From Bookfever, IOBA (Volk & Iiams) (Ione, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since November 6, 1997

Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. Author's first book - a novel set in the desolate "gumbo" land of the Western Dakotas. Dustjacket praise from Raymond Carver, John Irving and others. To quote Carver: 'Unger writes with great power and compassion about a unique virtually undiscovered landscape in American literature. "Leaving the Land" is an authentic and deeply moving drama of people trying to hold on and go on. It is a remarkable novel and one that will leave an indelible impression.' SIGNED by the author on the title page, and uncommon thus. 277 pp. Fine in a fine dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 15158

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: New York: Harper & Row, 1984. dj

Publication Date: 1984

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Leaving the Land deals with contemporary rural America, and it does so with an exceptional fidelity to detail, circumstance, and feeling that captures the modern condition in the countryside: the winds of change bearing down hard on a once remote and deeply rooted way of life.

Douglas Unger has a sharply focused but widely ramifying story to tell. Its compass is 12 miles, the distance between the Hogan farm and the small town of Nowell, off in the desolate "gumbo" land of the western Dakotas. Its principal figure is Marge Hogan, a bright, pretty, spunky girl and then women who dreams of the bright lights of Rapid City but whose destiny is to stay where she is. Early on, she works side by side with her father at the grueling, dispiriting tasks of turkey raising, her two brothers having gone off to World War 11 and both having been killed. Evenings she sadly sorts through men left behind by the war for a husband who can help with the farm and eventually take over. Just as she is about to marry the best of a bad lot, a convoy of trucks arrives in Nowell, along with a man in a snappy convertible, and her life changes...for a time.

Like a patch of earth and rock that contains much of the geology of a region, the story of Marge Hogan, along with those of her father, husband and son, her farm and town, is indelibly marked by the recent history of the Farm Belt. The man Marge marries is the lawyer for Nowell-Safebuy, the local turkey-processing plant and a link in the giant food chain that is bent on bankrupting the farmers of the area and buying up their land. In the protracted, unequal and eventually violent war that ensues, one can see first hand and in concrete human terms the forces and conditions by which the agribusiness has depopulated the countryside. Most of the farmers lose out, but so does Nowell-Safebuy when the land's productivity sharply declines from being managed by farmers who no longer own it. The once thriving community becomes a ghost town and the farms, including the Hogans', are abandoned to the prairie winds and rodents.

The second half of the novel is told by Marge's son, Kurt, who returns to Nowell many years later to spend Christmas with her. We see much of the later history through his eyes and memories, his brooding sense of futility providing a counterpoint to Marge's passionate will to hold on to the property that has destroyed her marriage and foreclosed her future. Only at the end, in a disastrous and heartbreaking visit they make to the farm, does Kurt finally grasp the full meaning of his mother's sacrifice.

Leaving the Land, then, is a novel about keeping faith with the land against implacable and ruinous circumstances. By virtue of his quiet artistry and his intense feeling for his subject and his people, Douglas Unger has made the Hogans' story into a work of tragic power and implication.

From the Back Cover:

Leaving the Land is, sadly and disturbingly, about endings. It shows family farming giving way to corporate farming and agribusiness.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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Terms of Sale: is a partnership between Christine Volk and Eugene Iiams, Booksellers. Our mailing address is PO Box 696, Ione CA 95640 USA. Our store is located at 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642 USA. Email: Phone: 209-274-6960. We accept Mastercard, Visa AMEX, Discover, checks or Paypal, whichever is most convenient for customers. Please contact us if you have any questions, or want to confirm availability. All dustjackets are in archival mylar covers, and books are packed ...

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Shipping includes insurance and/or delivery confirmation when appropriate. All dust jackets are covered with archival protectors. All books are PACKED CAREFULLY; we are also happy to gift wrap books (FREE) upon request, and to ship them with just a card. Prices shown include media mail shipping in the US and California sales tax, when required. An online bookseller since 1993, on ABE since 1997! While occasionally a book sells out, we only list books which we have in stock, and ready to ship. NOTE our low INTERNATIONAL RATES - Please do not hesitate to contact us to confirm availability or with any questions - we can be reached at or toll-free in the USA at 877*266*5338 (bookfev) or outside the US at 209*274*6960. Reciprocal terms offered to the trade on direct orders only. Libraries and other institutions may request to be invoiced.

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