From Publishers Weekly
It was an unusual household: the mother and three daughters lived on a ramshackle farm in western Virginia while the father stayed in Chicago, visiting his family during summer vacations and at Christmas. Virginia (Vallie), much younger than her sisters, never felt comfortable with her father. Playmates were a rarity, but she found rewards in the company of farm animals and the three black people who were hired help. Vallie wistfully observed her sisters and their friends, dreaming about her future suitors. Strange for that time and place, the sisters received no religious instruction; Vallie's attempt at self-baptism and the cook's reaction makes an endearing story. A devastating forest fire destroyed the farmhouse, and the family lived in a shed until a new home was built. In her debut book, the 71-year-old Dabney paints a wonderfully nostalgic picture of rural life in the late '20s through the Depression years. Author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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A deeply affecting memoir of life on a backwoods Virginia farm in the first half of the 20th century, and an astonishing debut by a 71-year-old author... A wonderful book in which to lose oneself, and which restores nostalgia's tarnished name.
[This book] is an elegy; it moves with the natural dignity of longing and regret, without being afflicted by self-pity. Its nostalgia is no cheap trinket, but the residue of a profound experience of a way of life, not just a life style.
(New York Times Book Review
What do you call a book like this, filled with dozens of passages in which the creatures of the barnyard are in a single shimmering detail, a paragraph or even a chapter brought to life... and in a way that causes readers not just to ponder the immemorial condition of hens or cows or cats, but to move on to a consideration of human fate as we?.
(San Francisco Examiner