- Paperback: 141 pages
- Publisher: PublishAmerica (September 9, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591295505
- ISBN-13: 978-1591295501
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,235,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered Paperback – September 9, 2002
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"A skilled word painter, the author does a fine job of recording her family's stories..." -- From Word on Romance, Reviewer Lina Mae Baldwin
"Howard-Johnson has written a most extraordinary book..." -- From The Copperfield Review, Reviewer Rolf Gompertz
"If I could describe Harkening in one word, it would be 'captivating!'" -- The Midwest Review, Reviewer David Leonhardt
Reviewer David Leonhardt said: "If I could describe Harkening in one word, it would be 'captivating!'" -- The Midest Review
From the Publisher
"Harkening" has been awarded three times since its release in November of 2002. One of the stories was given the Red Sky Press Award. This is awarded by a panel of judges at the University of Akron headed by Rose A. O. Kleidon, Professor Emeritus of English. It also took Word Thunder's most prestigious award for 2001, The Award of Excellence, and was just voted Top Ten Novels of 2001 by the Readers' Poll at Preditor and Editors.
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Top customer reviews
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Judith Woolcock Colombo
We stroll through a garden, we take a museum tour, or we look through a friend's family album. These are all quick glances at the bits and pieces that make up the whole. However, "Harkening: A Collection Of Stories Remembered" by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is more than a mere glimpse of the whole. Each story is like the petal of a rose, perfect and unique, an entity unto itself. When merged together each petal becomes more than itself. It becomes the rose superb and perfect.
"Harkening" presents us with the rose petal by petal. They are memories emerging from a woman's mind, recollections of her childhood or of stories handed down to her with love. The unique perspective of the person telling it colors each story. "Most stories came filtered through one glass or another."
There are stories that shock us. In "Legacy" an aging woman recalls discovering as a small child that her youngest aunt had syphilis, a legacy from one of her many lovers. She also discovers that her mother had an illegitimate child who disappeared. Stories such as "Mama's Depression" move us with the triumph of the human spirit over poverty. In "Child's Play", "Neighbors", "What isn't Lavender", and "Remembering Winter", religious intolerance mars a child's life. We are left stunned at the stupidity of an intolerant society and awed by the resilience of children to surmount hate and prejudice and to survive intact.
In "Harkening", we relive childhood's hurts and disappointments and revel in its triumphs, like learning to milk a cow. We wince in recognition of the mother, daughter conflict, but nevertheless, it intrigues us, and we wonder where the next story will lead.
Throughout the pages of "Harkening", another story emerges. It is the story of Utah, the land of towering mountains, glorious lakes, gray desert plains, and shimmering white salt flats. It is the story of a land whose soil, according to the author, "Harbored the pulse and throb of her heritage." This land nourishes, comforts, and punishes. It is part of its children's lives. Utah is in Howard-Johnson's blood. She cannot escape her great mother whom she both praises and damns, this nurturer and devastator. Without Utah the stories would lack the beauty and majesty that they now possess.
"Harkening" is a must read for anyone who loves the written word or wonderful stories told well. If you have read Howard-Johnson's first novel "This Is The Place" and loved it, you will also love Harkening because these are the experiences from which the novel sprang. If you have never read "This Is The Place", do so.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson's latest wonder arrived in my mailbox just when I was already trying to squeeze 30-hour days into my paltry 24. But how could I let something from such a gifted writer just sit there? Carolyn Howard-Johnson writes like an onion with each layer she peels craftily coaxing tears from her readers' eyes.
Harkening is one such tear-jerker -- a collection of Depression era tales from her mother's childhood and memories of her own. Some sad, some happy, all heartwarming.
There is something eerie about this book, something that keeps the reader off balance. It is clearly an autobiography, both of Howard-Johnson and of her mother. It says as much up front: "Stories can easily lose themselves without a teller-of-stories to keep them alive. A family needs a bard."
But sometimes I get the feeling that this book may be as much fiction as reality -- like the feeling some people get that they are outside themselves watching their comings and goings from afar. Two quotations she places up front lend credence to my theory.
And some of her tales are clearly not autobiographical or are they? Well, the names seem to change and she writes some in the third person, but maybe they are autobiographical just the same. I so dearly wanted to ask the author. But I held back so as to take the stories at face value, just as you, dear reader, will when you get the chance.
Harkening -- or at least some of the tales in Harkening -- picks up where This Is The Place left off. (If you have not yet read This Is The Place, I highly recommend it.) There are moments of triumph. There are scenes of tension. Many of the stories are seen through the eyes of a child, through the innocence of youth, and through superb, descriptive writing that makes the reader feel like he is there in the story.
Howard-Johnson finally reveals the source of her magical writing skills when she calls her mother "The most avid of these story-tellers."
If I could describe Harkening in one word, it would be "captivating!" Enjoy every story...