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String Too Short to Be Saved (Nonpareil Books, No. 5) 8th Printing Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0879232825
ISBN-10: 087923282X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author reflects on his childhood days in New England, where he spent summers on his grandparents' farm.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

String Too Short to be Saved memorializes a time that is no more, but can live on forever in the warmth of the heart. --Joyce Bupp, Advisor<br /><br />The best essays, for my money, to have been written about New England --The New York Times

The best essays, for my money, to have been written about New England --The New York Times
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Product Details

  • Series: Nonpareil Books (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine; 8th Printing edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087923282X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879232825
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 27, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Donald Hall is a writer beautifully tangent to and cognizant of the New England spine we all wish to immulate in our thoughts of the 'old American spirit', a spirit too seemingly on the wane at present -even on 4th of July celebrations this year. His most recent collection of short stories , WILLOW TEMPLE , was my introduction to this Whitmanesque, Robert Frost-like wonder boy of observation. In returning to his early work in the Nonpariel Books reissue of STRING TOO SHORT TO BE SAVED one wonders why he has remained in the background, and hasn't found the wide audience he deserves.
"STRING..." is a series of short stories of Hall's recollections of spending his summers with his beloved grandparents in New Hampshire. All phases of farming and maturing from a small child to a young adult are addressed in a wholly readable, poetic, illuminating fashion. Hall knows how to describe nature as well as anyone writing today. He also revives an appreciation for his roots that we could all study as journeys toward finding ourselves. "To be without history is to be forgotten" he writes."My grandfather did not know the maiden names of either of his grandmothers. I thought that to be forgotten must be the worst fate of all." Hall invites us to accompany him on his memories of haying, picking blueberries, visiting the odd group of people who have become indelible American daguerreotypes for him. "The farm was a form: not a set of rules on the wall, but like the symmetry of winter and summer, or like the balance of day and night over the year, June against December. My grandfather lived by the form all his life, and my summers on the farm were my glimpse of it."
Simple gifts, these.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Donald Hall first published this collection of short stories, set in the rural area of central New Hampshire, in 1960. Most of the stories reflect his summer-time experiences with his grandparents, on their farm, during the `40's. There is a Marcel Proust "Remembrance of Things Past," quality to Hall's reminisces of his youth, and the joys he experienced with his grandparents, just as Proust did, in a rural corner of his native France. A portion of that joy was the heritage that his grandparent's conveyed to him, going all the way back to his great-great grandfather who had participated in the Battle at Vicksburg. And the wonderful title, one that beautifully conveys the frugality of farmers who performed their life's work in a less than optimum environment for raising crops or livestock. It was derived from the label on a small box Hall found in the attic, after his grandparents were deceased, filled, as you might now guess, with small pieces of string.

But Hall is not uncritically nostalgic for a paradise lost. One of his more biting reflections is conveyed in the story "A Hundred Thousand Straightened Nails." The story concerns Washington Woodward, the character who would retrieve nails from timber, and attempt to straighten them, so that they could be reused. At the beginning of the story Hall describes such people as: "So many of them lived a half-life, a life of casual waste." Hall's conclusion at the end of the story: "He has saved nails, but wasted life."..."... and his straightened nails had rusted into the dirt of Ragged Mountain.
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Format: Paperback
If you claim to like poetry or writing where the ink squiggles can actually allow you the experience of feeling the grist and sand of a place between your toes...take out any work by Donald Hall and you'll feel the tide of the New England coast coming in over your feet...Often mislabled with the churl quip, "regional writer", Mr. Hall is much more....

a master of making you feel you are where he wants to

take you...His characters come with the authenticity of having either been known, met, or viewed by Hall, or conjured from his collective memories and boiled down like a fine cider from actual sips of experience he's had with like individuals in his native New England...

...And what individuals he finds and has found in the ernest incredibly delicious confines and environs of the North East...In "String Too Short", Hall takes on the not inconsiderable task of fleshing out the rich hues of his own New England ancestory..You can smell his grandmother's kitchen, taste the dusty hay from his grandfather's barn, and feel the New Hampshire sun on your face via his entrancing and detailed prose...

Mr. Hall? Are you out there? As a one time correspondent known to him as "John-Tom" I hope all is well with the venerable "Don" of Eagle Pond...Mr. Hall has taken himself off the pony express of fans he has deservedly developed over the years...and as one who has come across his work and spent pleasant minutes and hours in fine examples of his work, recommended to other readers here such as " Their Bright And Shining Eyes", " Without", " Here At Eagle Pond", and lately, " The Painted Bed", Mr. Hall has well earned praise and a rest in the bright sun of poetry and masterful observations on life around us he has picked up through his well lived adventures and travel...ALL OF HIS WORK..highly recommended!
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