Jennifer Haigh, Author . Morrow $24.95 (334p) ISBN 978-0-06-050941-5

The second novel by the author of the award-winning Mrs. Kimble depicts life in a postwar Pennsylvania mining town and continues Haigh's exploration of the hardships of women's lives. In the town of Bakerton, dominated by the towers of the title (made of slowly combusting piles of scrap coal), poor families live in ethnic enclaves of company houses. Italian Rose Novak broke with tradition by marrying a Polish man, but he dies in the book's first chapter, and Rose and her five children struggle through the years that follow. The oldest son, Georgie, returns from WWII and avoids the mining life by marrying the posh, cynical daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia store owner. Rose's daughter Dorothy gets a wartime job in glamorous Washington but breaks down and returns to Bakerton, while capable daughter Joyce, who joins the military just as the war ends, comes home to take care of her ailing mother, resenting Georgie and Sandy, the handsome youngest brother, who escape town. Only Rose and Lucy, the awkward youngest daughter, are content with things as they are. The story climaxes with a disaster at the mine, which affects each of the Novak children. Haigh's prose never soars, but she writes convincingly of family and smalltown relations, as well as of the intractable frustrations of American poverty. Agent, Dorian Karchmar. (Jan. 4)

Forecast: Strong publisher support, a 25-city author tour and Haigh's solid storytelling could make this a big seller.

Reviewed on: 11/22/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-115784-4
Compact Disc - 512 pages - 978-0-06-075950-6
Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-0-7862-7352-2
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-06-050942-2
MP3 CD - 978-0-7927-3469-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-3448-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-3447-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 368 pages - 978-0-06-081590-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-082915-5
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-081597-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-082891-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-7927-4423-8
Show other formats
Discover what to read next