The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay by Beverly Jensen
(Library Edition)

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Synopsis

A tale of two sisters over seventy years that recovers the vibrant and unforgettable voice of Beverly Jensen

In 1916, Idella and Avis Hillock live on the edge of a chilly bluff in New Brunswick-a hardscrabble world of potato farms and lobster traps, rough men, hard work, and baffling beauty. From "Gone," the heartbreaking story of their mother's medical crisis in childbirth, to the darkly comic "Wake," which follows the grown siblings' catastrophic efforts to escort their father, "Wild Bill" Hillock's body to his funeral, the stories of Idella and Avis offer a compelling and wry vision of two remarkable women. The vivid cast includes Idella's philandering husband Edward, her bewilderingly difficult mother-in-law- and Avis, whose serial romantic disasters never quell her irrepressible spirit. Jensen's work evokes a time gone by and reads like an instant American classic.

Beverly Jensen died of cancer at the age of forty-nine without publishing her work. Since her death, her fiction has been championed by a dedicated group of supporters, including Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates.
 

About Beverly Jensen

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BEVERLY JENSEN earned an MFA in drama from Southern Methodist University. After her death in 2003, her story “Wake” was published in the New England Review, included in The Best American Short Stories 2007, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is survived by her husband, Jay Silverman, and their two children.
 
Published May 26, 2010 by Penguin Books. 322 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay

Kirkus Reviews

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Della, who is the hard worker, chafes at the responsibilities she carries and feels jealous of the more carefree Avis, who drinks and carouses with Dad.

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The New York Times

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Beverly Jensen’s book “The Sisters From Hardscrabble Bay” may be a collection of stories, but thanks to its chronological sweep (from 1916 to 1987), its multiple settings (from New Brunswick — so vividly rendered that it becomes another character — to Boston to coastal Maine) and a good half-doze...

Jul 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sisters from Hardscrabble...

The New York Times

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In Beverly Jensen’s posthumous novel-in-stories, two sisters escape rural poverty and make their way in the world.

Jul 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sisters from Hardscrabble...

The Globe and Mail

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Pomme de Terre - in which a poor French-Canadian girl comes to work for the Hillocks as a housekeeper, catching the eye of both father and son while sparking both sisters' ire and longing - as well as Wake - a darkly humorous story in which the sisters shepherd their father's body to his funeral,...

Aug 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sisters from Hardscrabble...

AV Club

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A posthumous collection of folksy stories finally shines a light on an author only somewhat appreciated in her time.

Jul 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sisters from Hardscrabble...

Oprah.com

No matter the setting—impoverished rural Canada in the early 20th century or 1990s Bay Area—the bond between sisters is always an odd and special one.

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