Baker Towers – Jennifer Haigh

9780062262882Bakerton, Pennsylvania has areas called Little Italy, Swedetown and Polish Hill.  It’s a company town, built on coal.  The black piles of dirt from the mines are landmarks, evidence of good times.  That means union jobs, enough food, paid vacations and presents at Christmas.  Born and raised on Polish Hill, the five Novak children come of age during WWII. Georgie, serves on a minesweeper in the Pacific.  Dorothy, fragile and beautiful, gets a job in D.C., but isn’t ready for city life.  Joyce longs for meaning, but is bitterly stuck in Bakerton.  Sandy sails along on looks and charm.  Lucy has a bottomless need for attention.  The book centers around their interaction with each other, and the community, through the mines, church, gossip and sports.  It pays homage to an industrial America long gone.  Haigh is a talented author with a unique voice who does characters and scene exceptionally well.  Her other books, Mrs. Kimble, The Condition and Faith are equally good, but this one is my favorite.

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