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Paperback Vinegar Hill (Oprah's Book Club) Book

ISBN: 0380730138

ISBN13: 9780380730131

Vinegar Hill (Oprah's Book Club)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Like New

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Book Overview

In a stark, troubling, yet ultimately triumphant celebration of self-determination, award-winning author A. Mannete Ansay re-creates a stifling world of guilty and pain, and the tormented souls who inhabit it. It is 1972 when circumstance carries Ellen Grier and her family back to Holly's Field, Wisconsin. Dutifully accompanying her newly unemployed husband, Ellen has brought her two children into the home of her in-laws on Vinegar Hill--a loveless...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A beautifully crafted, thoughtful read.

It's of little importance whether you agree with Ellen's decision at the end of the book, or if the family's "secret" was easily discernible. Read VINEGAR HILL for its elegant writing style and carefully developed characters. Prepare yourself for a disturbing, sometimes shocking story that speaks to the long range, often generational effects of physical and verbal abuse. An evocative account of domestic discord at its worst. One of the better Oprah picks. Don't miss it.

A moving and breathtaking read

I read VINEGAR HILL before the Oprah success in the summer of 1998. It was a particular busy summer of teaching and mothering, so whenever possible, I would escape into Ellen's world. I soon found I couldn't put the book down as I read late into the night. I found myself so drawn into these characters. I loved the courage of Ellen, how she begins to take the first steps away from her family. I also loved the children and found them to be so authentic and believable. I especially loved the relationship between Ellen and her daughter. It's always stunning to read how cruel family members can be, (the spoken and unspoken criticism) but Ansay tells the story with such grace, humor, and love. There is a darkness in this midwestern family, but it's a darkness that so many families will relate to. I gave it to my mother to read, and she loved it too. Bravo for Ansay for creating a world of rich, three-dimensional characters with real problems and real courage. It made me read her other books...RIVER ANGEL still haunts me with the boy, Gabriel, being so loathed by the people of the town. The chapter from the teacher's POV gave me chills. MIDNIGHT CHAMPAGNE, her latest, made me laugh out loud in so many places...She gets into all the heads of characters so completely that as the reader, I know I am along for a great ride. I can't wait for her next one. Her collection of stories, READ THIS AND TELL ME WHAT IT SAYS is also terrific as is SISTER, her novel about a lost brother (and sister). Each of her books is a rich canvas of fascinating worlds filled with real people with all their pain, joy, wit - she writes of the human condition, and she's a master.

Vinegar Hill

A beautifully written book that draws you into the story of a couple moved by circumstances to live with the husband's parents. Stingy with both affection and money, the man's parents provide a home as cold and austere as the Wisconsin winter in which the novel begins. Ansay balances the precision of style of a true wordsmith with the compassionate perceptions of a skilled observer as she explores the ways Ellen, the young wife, finds the strength to deal with her increasingly distressing situation. This book looks at relationships, control, and dirty family secrets in ways that may make you wince in empathy if not recognition. But it also considers resilience and inner spirit, and in the end leaves you with hope. Read this book, then read the others she's written. No doubt about it, Manette Ansay is a fine writer.


I bought this book in spite of it being an Oprah pick, and I was very satisfied with it. The characters are so richly drawn, and after reading this, I very much appreciate what my mother's generation went through (I am in my early 30's). I saw alot of the women of my mother's generation in Ellen and Barb (characters in the book), and now have a new appreciation for them. This book was hard to put down--you really want to see what happens to everyone.

The real world just became a better place.

Manette Ansay has created a masterpiece of characters so real I could feel, through them, the terror, the tension, and the love that bind us all to each other and make life-changes so difficult. This is a beautiful story of a woman's courage to rethink the rules that define her and, ultimately, her daughter.
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