The Meaning of Names

The Meaning of Names

by Karen Shoemaker


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597099592
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 03/01/2014
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 1,258,895
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Karen Gettert Shoemaker is the author of Night Sounds and Other Stories. Awards for her writing include a Nebraska Press Association Award for Feature Writing, two Independent Artist Fellowship Awards from the Nebraska Arts Council, and a Nebraska Book Award for Short Fiction. Her work has been published in a variety of newspapers and journals, including The London Independent, Prairie Schooner, Kalliope, and The South Dakota Review, and anthologized in A Different Plain: Contemporary Nebraska Fiction Writers, Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace, An Untidy Season, and Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. She is a faculty mentor with the University of Nebraska’s MFA in Writing Program. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she and her husband own and operate Shoemaker’s Truck Stop and Travel Center.

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The Meaning of Names 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this from the library at the recommendation of someone on a FB list. I was interested because it is set in nearby Nebraska during the WWI era. I knew that it was about the hatred for German-Americans at that time, but I was not prepared for the whole of the story! Told from the pov of a German-American wife & mother, Gerda Vogel, we see life as it was at that time and see some of our current events repeating the same mistakes. Shoemaker keeps the tension strong by alternating chapters between Gerda and the town doctor, Dr. Gannoway. Gerda is a fearful young woman, partly because of Church teachings and partly because of her upbringing. That fear is exacerbated by a train trip in which she and another woman witness a German-American thrown violently off a train. War news seems far away until Fritz goes with neighbors to get his farmer's exemption from the draft. Throughout the story, people they have known for years are now cold--or worse. Then the deadly influenza epidemic hits, and the divided town becomes even more divided. Dr. Gannoway thinks of himself as a patriotic man of science and has many discussions with the new priest. Gannoway loves philosophy and other academic endeavors and enjoys letter-writing his thoughts to his brother, an army medic. We see these and the other main characters learn and grow as the story reaches its conclusion with an allusion to Mary Oliver's poem, The Summer Day.
Pinball-God More than 1 year ago
A can't-put-down novel that only intensifies as it continues to its perfectly not-quite-perfect conclusion.  Accessible (80-year-old parents loved it, as did thirty-something daughter)... yet written with beauty and intelligence. Shoemaker's characters are vivid, specific, and timeless. I want to keep them in my life!