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Indiana, Indiana Hardcover – September 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566891442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566891448
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,143,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Impressionistic and episodic, Laird's lyrical second novel (after The Impossibly) tells the story of a simpleminded elderly Indiana man visited by visions and memories of the past. Since the death of his parents, Noah Maximilien Summers has lived alone with only a cat for company. He was once briefly married, but barely a month after his wedding in 1937, his wife, Opal, descended into madness and set fire to their house. Sixty years later, Opal has just died, and Noah dreams of her and rereads the letters she sent from the asylum where she was institutionalized. His memories of Opal and of his mother, Ruby, and sympathetic father, Virgil, a former schoolteacher, give structure to his stream-of-consciousness musings, which encompass childhood memories, dreams and present-day observations. His uncanny ability to see things a vision of a clock leads him to a buried heirloom in his father's fields makes him briefly useful to the town sheriff, but he never holds down a real job after a short stint as a mailman during World War II. Curious, wry and wise, Noah is a sympathetic protagonist, and Hunt's seamless narrative ushers readers smoothly into his consciousness. Though modest in scope and rather musty in conception (Hunt owes much to the modernists), the novel is crisp and visceral in its evocation of Noah's inner and outer landscapes, an autumnal serenade to rural America.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Hunt's demanding debut, The Impossibly (2001), in no way anticipated the magical lyricism of his second novel. A haunting and enigmatic tale told in short, poetic chapters redolent of the subtle Indiana landscape by turns illuminated by fireflies and assaulted by wild weather, it is filtered through the strange psyche of an older man named Noah, who lives in shabby isolation on a cluttered farm. Sitting beside a wood-burning stove, Noah is assailed by troubling memories of the debilitating fits and visions that rendered him incapable of living a normal life. His poignant reflections, which obliquely reveal much about the struggles and woes of Noah's hard-pressed ancestors and immediate family, and the painful mystery of mental illness, are interspersed with short, highly imaginative letters from Noah's wife, Opal, a woman, the reader slowly figures out, whose own psychic afflictions, much to Noah's sorrow, landed her in an asylum. Hunt's somber and quietly beautiful novel is like a slide show, each moody and visually lush chapter a luminous and evocative tableau cast upon the mind of the reader. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
INDIANA, INDIANA is simply a gorgeous novel. The writing is spare yet lyrical. There are a few Faulknerian moments, but by and large Hunt achieves grace through juxtaposition and empathy rather than through syntactical complexity. There is no confusion, beyond the opening pages, about what is happening, or to whom; a critical plot point--the fate of Noah's wife--is revealed slowly, but the broad outlines are clear from the start.
The mystery, if it be mystery, is a man's relationship with land, with loneliness, and above all with time.
This is the book that William Maxwell or Wendell Berry would have written had either been a surrealist. The only other contemporary American novel I can think to compare it with is Gene Wolfe's underappreciated PEACE.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MRNB on February 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I began reading this book, my first though was "This is Faulkner." The book has a very sad feel to it--one that radiates from the pages. You can feel the cold from the Indiana winter plains, the pain from loss, yet every so often, you notice you have a smile on your face at the recollections of the past. A quick read, it is worth checking out.
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