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Set against the backdrop of the Nebraska prairie, Joern's powerful second offering follows three generations as they navigate the greater part of the 20th century. In 1930, Gramp comes to collect five-year-old Billy after his mother dies. This stoic beginning sets the tone for the rest of the novel as characters endure poverty, illness and betrayal. Subsequent generations share storytelling duties; there's Jake, Gramp's son, now a hardworking farmer with "bottom teeth toppled together like gravestones in a country churchyard"; Alice, his young wife who stands by him through endless hardship; and their children Stevie, Frank and Molly, all of whom leave rural life behind. Evocative prose elevates Joern's excellent portrayal of the family's evolution and brings a warmth and richness to a stark landscape. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.