The Quickening tells the story of two very different women living in the Iowa plains from the early 1900’s through the Depression. Enidina and Mary are forced together simply by being neighbors in a time when the closest neighbors are miles away. Farming the land is difficult but Enidina enjoys the work. Mary dislikes the hardship of the farm and desires something more. They rely on and hurt each other constantly and their relationship is strained. Since Mary cannot recognize her dream of a better life or escape the abuse of her husband she turns to her religion and the direction of her soft-spoken pastor. The story is told alternately from the perspective of both women. It unfolds slowly and is beautiful yet dark and ultimately tragic. There are many things about each of the women to be discovered in the shadows of this tale. Alternating between their points of view allows the reader to experience both sides. As betrayal and loss become more apparent I found that bits of each woman began to become overshadowed by the magnitude of the storytelling. Exploring the women’s personalities and the dynamic of their relationship amidst their environment and overwhelming isolation was the most engaging part of this book. The writing is wonderful but at times the story got in the way of the characters or the characters got in the way of the story.
August 18, 2010
The Quickening by Michelle Hoover