Baker Towers

Baker Towers

by Jennifer Haigh
3.7 37

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Overview

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh

In a stunning follow-up to her best-selling debut, Mrs. Kimble, Jennifer Haigh′s second novel, BAKER TOWERS, is a compelling story of love and loss in a western Pennsylvania mining town in the years after World War II.

Bakerton is a company town, built on coal; a town of church festivals and ethnic neighborhoods, hunters′ breakfasts and firemen′s parades. Its children are raised in company houses - three rooms upstairs, three rooms down. Its ball club leads the coal company league. The twelve Baker mines offer good union jobs, and the looming black piles of mine dirt don't bother anyone. Called Baker Towers, they are local landmarks, clear evidence that the mines are booming. Baker Towers mean good wages and meat on the table, two weeks′ paid vacation and presents under the Christmas tree.

The mines were not named for Bakerton; Bakerton was named for the mines. This is an important distinction. It explains the order of things.

Born and raised on Bakerton′s Polish Hill, the five Novak children come of age in wartime, a thrilling moment when the world seems on the verge of changing forever. The oldest, Georgie, serves on a mine sweeper in the South Pacific and glimpses life beyond Bakerton, a promising future he is determined to secure at all costs. His sister Dorothy, a fragile beauty, takes a wartime job in Washington D.C. and finds herself unprepared for city life. Brilliant Joyce longs to devote herself to something of consequence but instead becomes the family's keystone, bitterly aware of the opportunities she might have had elsewhere. Her brother Sandy sails through life on looks and charm, and Lucy, the volatile baby, devours the family's attention and develops a bottomless appetite for love.

BAKER TOWERS is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America's industrial past and the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. This is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary new voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062262882
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/28/2013
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 818,393
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Haigh is the author of the short story collection News From Heaven and four critically acclaimed novels:  Faith, The Condition, Baker Towers and Mrs. Kimble. Her books have won both the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction and the PEN/L.L. Winship Award for work by a New England writer. Her short fiction has been published widely, in The Atlantic, Granta, The Best American Short Stories 2012, and many other publications. She lives in the Boston area. 

Hometown:

Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

October 16, 1968

Place of Birth:

Barnesboro, Pennsylvania

Education:

B.A., Dickinson College, 1990; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 2002

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Baker Towers 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the opening pages the reader is transported back to a time when life revolved around the family. Haigh's portrayal of the Novak family is filled with perceptions of real life which can be challenging and bitter-sweet. Women were supposed to raise children and their ambitions for anything greater were usually frowned upon. I liked all the characters because each one of them had their moments and their heartaches. She does an excellent job of keeping multiple story-lines running toward the end which is the sign of a talented writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book hard to put down. It transported me to a different time in american history. Tragic and realistic, i will definitely read more fron this writer.
MsAnnie More than 1 year ago
I love this book! The old neighborhoods, ethnic foods, small town feel all ring so true. I can see my aunts, mother and grandmother(s) in this book, sweet, sad satisfying read.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
Coming from a small town and one-time mining town, I found myself completely enamored with BAKER TOWERS, and those little idiosyncrasies that define small town life: the unwillingness to escape, the focus on comfort and the familiar, the constantly churning gossip mill, the quaint downtown, the neat little streets, and the emphasis on family. Had this been the only endearing part of the novel, it still would have been a worthwhile read. But Jennifer Haigh offers her readers so much more. She takes an intricate look at the Novak family and their five children, and she tackles issues like love and loss, success and failure, and greed and generosity with a stealth pen and attention to detail. It is her attention to detail that really brings out the hearts and souls of these characters, transforming them from what in many cases could have been static characters to giving them multi-dimensional appeal. Like Bakerton, Georgie, Dorothy, Joyce, Lucy, and Sandy are defined by more than the twin stacks of mine waste that come to represent the town. While all five children have grown up within the walls of the Novak household, each proves as unique as snowflakes and as fragile in many respects as the morning dew. It’s this fragility that brings fullness and richness to the characters, and the lives of those they interact with. And ultimately it defines the pull of home, whether they reach out and grab it, or do whatever they can to run from it. That is the true definition of small town life, and it’s a message that resonates throughout this novel’s pages. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first of Haigh's books that I've read and I definitely want more. Didn't want this book to end. Each chapter leaves you wanting more and you get it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes an historical saga.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved 'Mrs. Kimble' and looked forward to reading this novel. I was sorely disappointed. I found it depressing. I disagree with the reviewers who said the charcters were fleshed out. I thought they were two-dimensionable. And the author has a habit of making a sweeping statement at the beginning of the chapter and then not following through. Some of the characters appear and then pop up later with little or no explanation of where they have been. This is an ok book and a good escape read but that's probably giving it more praise than it deserves
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not realize that this was the start of a series when I purchased the book. I'm not sure if I will continue reading the others or not. It was well written and the characters, of course a about a dysfunctional family, were interesting. The books was written from the viewpoint of some of the characters, but at least she kept it to a reasonable number of people so that they could be better developed rather than trying to do all of them. It was a good, relaxing type read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovef
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Characters were always to vague to really care about. It seemed like the plot never really went anywhere.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great characters, but tragic
Judi421 More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Haigh has a nice style about her. I intend to read all of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters come alive from the very beginning. Brings to life a slice of American history.
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