Zorrie : a novel / Laird Hunt.
- 1 of 1 copy available at Town of Hanover Libraries.
0 current holds with 1 total copy.
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- ISBN: 9781635575361 : HRD
- ISBN: 1635575362 : HRD
- Physical Description: 161 pages ; 22 cm
- Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Publishing, 
Cast adrift in the Depression-era West after the last of her relatives pass away, Zorrie survives by working at a radium processing plant before finding love, community and unexpected loss upon returning to her small Indiana hometown.
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|Subject:||Orphans > Fiction.
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Library Journal Review
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Taking an epigraph from Flaubert's A Simple Heart, Hunt's (The Evening Road) novel also concerns a simple, decent character well acquainted with hardship and loss. Zorrie Underwood was orphaned young and spent much of her childhood living with an elderly and embittered aunt who was rarely warm toward her, the harshness of her youth salved only by school and especially Mr. Thomas, her teacher, who heightens her awareness of the natural world. Striking out after high school, she leaves her native Indiana, taking a job painting radium watch dials at a factory in Illinois, where she makes her first real friends among the "radium girls." Returning to Indiana, she comes to live with an older couple, Gus and Bessie Underwood, doing chores and eventually marrying Harold, their son. When Harold is killed in World War II, Zorrie takes over their farm, carving out a life for herself as the years pass by. VERDICT During an early scene, Zorrie and her friends toss flakes of radium paint into the air and stare with wonder at its seemingly miraculous glow. Through an ordinary life of hard work and simple pleasures, Zorrie comes to learn the real wonder is life itself. A quiet, beautifully done, and memorable novel.--Lawrence Rungren, Andover, MA
Publishers Weekly Review
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Hunt (In the House in the Dark of the Woods) documents an unremarkable life in this compassionate outing. Though the elderly farmer Zorrie Underwood is in failing health and near the end of her life, she continues working the fields as she has for 50-plus years. Perseverance and an industrious acceptance of her lot are the hallmarks of orphaned Zorrie's existence from birth, as shown by the time-jumping narrative. After the stern aunt who raised Zorrie dies in 1930, when Zorrie is 21, she takes whatever work she can find until she meets the loving elderly couple Gus and Bessie, for whom she splits and stacks wood. Her acquaintance with their upright son, Harold, who runs the family farm, evolves naturally into marriage. With Harold away during WWII, Zorrie bonds with their empathetic neighbor and farmhand, Noah, especially after Harold is killed in action, and it's Harold's memory that stays with her in the decades to follow. As the years progress, Gus and Bessie die, and Zorrie finds joy in a puppy, and forms a strong friendship with her neighbor Ruby. Hunt's storytelling flows smoothly, its rhythms unperturbed by preciousness or superfluous detail. Fans of Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy will love this subtle tale of rural life. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners. (Feb.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated a plot point and referred to the character Ruby by the wrong name.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
A woman's life in rural Indiana takes shape amid dreams, losses, and fulfillment in this quietly effective work. As in his past three novels, including In the House in the Dark of the Woods (2018), Hunt centers his narrative on a woman. But where those earlier characters faced war, racism, or sorcery, Zorrie Underwood's ordeals may seem less extraordinary. Born early in the 20th century, she is a schoolgirl when she loses her parents to diphtheria. An aunt then raises her and dies when Zorrie is 21. She takes a job painting radium on clocks and gauges, and that lethal chemical sows an early seed of tension. She marries Harold, a good farming man with a hundred acres, but another fellow, the brooding Noah, also catches her eye. She miscarries in her only pregnancy, and then her husband's bomber falls into the sea off Holland in 1943. For years thereafter, Zorrie works her farm and occasionally ponders the troubled Noah, whose story adds an almost gothic sidebar. The novel recalls the small but rich agrarian worlds of Meghan Kenny's The Driest Season (2018) and Mariek Lucas Rijneveld's The Discomfort of Evening (2020). But while those books depict brief periods of their characters' youth, Hunt manages in less than 200 pages to convey his heroine's whole life, telescoping years and rarely departing from seasonal and small-town rhythms. His often lyrical prose traces Zorrie's hopes, griefs, loneliness, and resolve with remarkable economy, although there are occasionally patches that sound forced. Thoughts of Harold find Zorrie musing on "the crisply chiseled tale of time told by the clocks and watches she had once helped paint faces for," and so on for more than 100 words of rhetorical flight. A touching, tightly woven story from an always impressive author. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Deliberately echoing the form of Gustave Flaubert's novella, "A Simple Heart," Hunt celebrates the majesty and depth in a life that may superficially seem undistinguished. Zorrie Underwood is a farmer in central Indiana, and as she and readers survey her 70-or-so years, her joys and sorrows are deeply observed and felt. Raised by a cranky aunt, Zorrie is left homeless at 21, in 1930, and travels though the countryside doing odd jobs for food. Following a stint painting clock faces at the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, Illinois, she settles in her home state and marries a kindly couple's farmer son, enduring setbacks and grief while adhering to daily routines. With compassion and realism, Hunt recounts Zorrie's story straightforwardly, with setting-appropriate dialogue and an eye for sensory details: the glint of fireflies, the clay soil's rich scent, the "mineral-sweet taste of warm blackberries picked off the vines." Zorrie's relationship with her neighbor Noah Summers, the eccentric protagonist of Hunt's Indiana, Indiana (2003), is presented with expressive subtlety. A beautifully written ode to the rural Midwest.