Montana Women

Toni Volk, Author Soho Press $19.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-939149-60-5
In chronicling the lives of two sisters over a span of 16 years, this promising first novel illuminates the shifting patterns in lives and families. At the end of WW II, Pearl and Etta of Great Falls, Mont., are living in their deceased parents' house, working at tedious jobs and occasionally venturing out for an uneventful dinner. Change comes when Pearl meets Gordon Buckman. She's soon married, a mother and living on Buck's ranch 80 miles from town. Pearl loves the land and is a good farm wife, but she isn't genuinely happy. Buck is too restless to settle down and spends most of his time drinking. Etta, living an unruffled and tranquil existence in town, cultivates her spiritual leanings and struggles with the memories of their cruel father. The sisters' degrees of self-knowledge develop through the years; eventually Pearl and her daughter move in with Etta. In a voice of spare, poetic energy, Volk offers some refreshing characterizations, but her narrative fails to overcome the dullness of Pearl and Etta's everyday problems or, alternately, to captivate the reader with a strong sense of time and place. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 305 pages - 978-0-939149-89-6
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