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The Dollmaker was originally published in 1954 to immediate success and critical acclaim. In unadorned and powerful prose, Harriette Arnow tells the unforgettable and heartbreaking story of the Nevels family and their quest to preserve their deep-rooted values amidst the turmoil of war and industrialization. When Gertie Nevels, a strong and self-reliant matriarch, follows her husband to Detroit from their countryside home in Kentucky, she learns she will have to fight desperately to keep her family together. A sprawling book full of vividly drawn characters and masterful scenes, The Dollmaker is a passionate tribute to a woman's love for her children and the land.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 624 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439164518 | 
  • October 2010
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Read an Excerpt


DOCK’S SHOES ON THE rocks up the hill and his heavy breathing had shut out all sound so that it seemed a long while she had heard nothing, and Amos lay too still, not clawing at the blanket as when they had started. They reached the ridge top where the road ran through scrub pine in sand, and while the mule’s shoes were soft on the thick needles she bent her head low over the long bundle across the saddle horn, listening. Almost at once she straightened, and kicked the already sweat-soaked mule hard in the flanks until he broke into an awkward gallop. “I know you’re tired, but it ain’t much... see more

About the Author

Harriette Arnow

Harriette Arnow was born in Wayne County, Kentucky in 1908. From her father, a former teacher who later worked in factories and oil fields, and her mother, also a teacher, Arnow inherited the rich storytelling tradition that inspired much of her written work. She published her first short stories in 1935 under the pseudonym H.L. Simpson alongside a photograph of her brother-in-law to disguise her gender. Her acclaimed novels, Mountain Path, Hunter’s Horn and The Dollmaker, the last considered her masterpiece and a landmark of American fiction. She died in 1986 at age seventy-seven.




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