A New York Times Notable Book for 1999
Best Fiction of 1999, the Los Angeles Times Book Review
Starred review, Publishers Weekly
Finalist for 1998 Dublin IMPAC Literary Award
|Publisher:||Northwestern University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Kathleen Hill's fiction and essays have been published in Best American Short Stories 2000, Pushcart Prize XXV, Kenyon Review, and Prairie Schooner. The original publication of Still Waters in Niger (Northwestern,1999) was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was among the Notable Books of the Year in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. A French translation of Still Waters in Niger entitled Eaux Tranquilles was published by Editions Phébus in 2000 and was shortlisted for the Prix Femina Etranger. Hill currently teaches in the Writing Program at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
When I read this novel, I realized I'd been hoping to find it for decades. Here were qualities of beauty, seriousness, distinction, tenderness, and moral sense, conveyed in a prose as austere and lavish as the desert landscape it evokes. Kathleen Hill's theme is hunger for an authentic relationship with her daughter, the hunger and fortitude of a people faced with drought and crop failure, and finally, spiritual hunger for reconciliation of the human and the divine. This is the most exciting debut since Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping.
Table of Contents
|Moon in First Quarter||63|
|Moon in Third Quarter||152|
|First Call to Prayer: Fajr||176|
|Second Call to Prayer: Zubr||186|
|Third Call to Prayer: Asr||193|
What People are Saying About This
Here is a novel of fine social and cross-cultural observation, and too, of moral inwardnessa wonderfully knowing storyteller with a strong spiritual bent tells us so very much about idealism and its vicissitudes, parenthood and its possibilities.
Subtle, elegant, and beautifully written, this apparently quiet novel is in fact surprisingly subversive. It captures, as few other books do, the deepest bonds of mothers and daughters and the unswerving persistence of memory.
A beautiful book, with great lyric power and emotional resonance. We desperately need to know more about the experience of motherhood, and in combining her passion for her daughter with her passion to experience and to know the world, Kathleen Hill makes a great contribution to our store of information about how women live. Her evocations of Africa, of the lives of women in Africa, give range and depth to her story, and carry it from the home into the world. I am full of admiration for this small miracle.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kathleen Hill is a quiet writer with immense talent. Her prose is delicate yet has heft; her insights are original and true; her eye is sharp. This book is a touching and beautifully written account not only of a mother-and-daughter relationship, but of individual growth. I found myself scribbling her lines into my notebook. I look forward to reading more by this author!
The prose in this book was enchantingly beautiful, but simply put, there is no discernable plot. The book's foundation is essentially on the relationship between a mother and her daughter as well as the mother's memories. It does give some insights into that which makes such a relationship close and that which can never be said between mother and daughter. But the lack of anything happening made it a very difficult book to finish. Ms. Hill's description of life in that West African country was excellent; perhaps I appreciated it more because I also have lived in West Africa, but I think it would've worked for anyone. But despite the heavy interior monologue, I never felt I had much insight into any of the character's brains or hearts. I'm not the kind of reader who needs constant shoot-em-up action to be entertained; slice-of-life or insights into individuals' souls is what I find compelling. That said, I usually want something to happen, even if it's the evolution of the characters. I'm afraid this novel didn't have that; or if it did, I didn't get it. Anyone who wants to know how to write mystical sensory description should read parts of this book; but as a narrative, it's not very compelling.