Born and raised on Bakerton's Polish Hill, the five Novak children come of age during wartime, a thrilling era when the world seems on the verge of changing forever. The oldest, Georgie, serves on a minesweeper in the South Pacific and glimpses life beyond Bakerton, a promising future he is determined to secure at all costs. His sister Dorothy takes a job in Washington, D.C., and finds she is unprepared for city life. Brilliant Joyce becomes the family's keystone, bitterly aware of the opportunities she might have had elsewhere. Sandy sails through life on his 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.
©2005 Jennifer Haigh; (P)2005 BBC Audiobooks America, Inc. and HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"Rich, enveloping....This novel abounds with satisfyingly real and vivid individuals." (The New York Times)
"[Haigh] writes convincingly of family and smalltown relations, as well as of the intractable frustrations of American poverty." (Publishers Weekly)
"Baker Towers is a novel possessing a rare, quiet power to evoke a time long past and the character of the people who lived then." (Booklist)
"An elegant, elegiac multigenerational saga....Almost mythic in its ambition, somewhere between Oates and Updike country, and thoroughly satisfying." (Kirkus Reviews)
Normally not a book I would have purchased it came highly recommended by a friend and was also my introduction to Audible. I was quite surprised to find that I very much enjoyed this story. The reader was excellent and while she does create voices for the characters I did not find it interrupting the flow of the story. She is actually quite good at maintaining consistency from character to character and the audio quality was excellent.
'Baker Towers" is a female centric take on one Polish Italian family whose lives are dominated by the coal mines of Bakerton, Penn. and the two towers of debris that the mines generate. After the death of their father, caused indirectly by the mines, the five Novack children are determined to escape his fate by running as far away as possible. Of course they are not able to go very far without being pulled back by family issues and their own guilt and loneliness. This all takes place during W.W. Two and it's aftermath. America is changing and the role of men and women are changing also. I have read this tale a lot, but usually it doesn't fail to gripe me. This time 'Baber Tower' misses the mark by a mile.
Unlike John O'Hara's best novels about the upwordly strivings people of the working class in the mining towns of Pennsavania, the Novak children are a pretty boring bunch. We watch them go from loveless marriage's to self imposed alienation without generating a flicker of independence. Even after one daughter defies convention and becomes the lover of a divorced man, she does it in such secrecy and with so little passion that it's hard to feel any interest. All the characters are so poorly drawn that I found myself confusing who was who even after seven of it's eight hour or so length.
While I usually like female narrators more then men, Anna Fields was not even up tp differentiating the woman from each other. I don't even think it was her fault. They all sounded and acted alike.
All in all a waste of my time.
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