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When You Live by a River

In Dark Water

Same Blood

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Same Blood

“With unerring precision, this remarkable first novel evokes the mean lives of Catskill dirt farmers: wounded cars sprouting in every yard, a gaggle of illegitimate children, often conceived incestuously, endemic drunkenness, casual adultery. The story revolves around Margaret Becker, a woman who has “just about always cleaned houses for a livin’.”…Managing to rise from the squalor, Margaret’s strong spirit uncovers beneath the bovine exteriors of people she has known all her life an answering spirit. Margaret is that rare person who, Zen-like, takes on the essence of those she loves…Yet grounding the book in the everyday world are precise details of cows calving, horses broken and trained, potatoes stored against winter frost. Little people, minor characters, pathetic survivors of illness and ignorance, come to life in Blakeslee’s distinctive vernacular voice, as she dares to explore and make credible perceptions beyond our understanding. This is an impressive debut.”

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